Song of the Day: Sara Bareilles, "Eden"
When Sara Bareilles' The Blessed Unrest was nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year back in 2013, there was a collective, "Huh?" from most of my colleagues. I was in the same boat—I had heard and appreciated "Brave" and reported on Bareilles a bit when Katy Perry released the soundalike single "Roar," but I spent almost no time with the album as a whole.
In the walk-up to the Grammys in 2014, EW sent me to write about Bareilles as the year's big underdog. I spent a lot of time with The Blessed Unrest and was pleasantly surprised by how dynamic it ended up being. About half of it is the sort of singer-songwriter stuff that you'd expect, but the other half is made up of weird sonic experiments and inventive structures and melodies.
Two songs stood out to me the most. One was a gauzy dream of a ballad called "Satellite Call," and the other was the rhythmic Prince-lite workout "Eden." When I interviewed Bareilles a few weeks before the Grammys in 2014, she told me that "Eden" was a song about Los Angeles, and how she had fallen out of love with the place—Bareilles grew up in Southern California but had recently decamped to New York City for the sake of her personal sanity. (That development made our meeting moderately silly: Though we both lived in New York at the time, I met her at a hotel in Santa Monica because she had booked a ton of pre-Grammys press in the wake of her nomination; she was preparing to go on The Ellen DeGeneres Show when I spoke to her.) There's a single lyric in "Eden" that always gets me, and as always, it's a mildly embarrassing 13-year-old journaling sentiment. When she hits the chorus, Bareilles sings, "No way to make the pain play fair/ It doesn't disappear just because you say it isn't there." Bareilles is specifically singing about how much a place can weigh on you, but it's a broader statement about denial and compartmentalizing. She finally let it all go, and she turned it into the weirdest and most expressive album of her career.