“What’s Inside: Songs From Waitress” is a Stylistic Change for Sara Bareilles
By Victoria Priola
Get ready for the raw, real, Sara Bareilles to make her debut. Also, prepare for not knowing what any of her songs are referring to. The three most used words throughout the whole album? Sugar, butter, and flour. Yes, I’m confused too.
Sara Bareilles showed her theatrical side in her latest album, What’s Inside: Songs From Waitress. Bareilles’ album is full of head bobbing tunes that only make sense if you saw the film it’s based from. Tony Award winning director Diane Paulus created a musical inspired by the 2007 film “Waitress” about a waitress and pie maker trapped in a small-town diner and a loveless marriage. Paulus asked Bareilles to create songs that are inspired by “Waitress.”
“She’s a natural at writing music for the theater,” said Paulus, reported by Fox News. “She just gets it. She gets storytelling, she gets narrative, and she gets character. So that’s been a joy.”
Her previous experience in theater brought Bareilles right in her comfort zone. After a mini hiatus from her “Love Song” days, this is the comeback project she’s been looking for. Jason Mraz joined Bareilles on many of the tracks to assist in telling a compelling story through music. He sings as the doctor that the female lead isn’t supposed to fall in love with, but does.
The album debut boosted ticket sales to the Broadway production of “Waitress” that is said to premiere in April 2016, according to NewYork.com.
“What’s Inside” is the introduction song to the rest of the album. A listener wouldn’t understand the context of this song if they didn’t see the movie she based it on. It’s appropriate for the project her album is, but alone, the song is odd.
“Opening Up” is a first person encounter of being a waitress. It’s the perfect song to prep yourself to go to work to. It states all the harsh reality of employment, to a catchy tune. Checking the clock, serving coffee to guests and thinking positively are just a few of the chores Bareilles lists in her ballet. The song is upbeat with a catchy Broadway-esque feel.
“Door Number Three” has a similar tune to Bareilles’ earlier hit, “King of Anything.” It’s a breakup song, about a girl who wants to see what other romantic options have to offer. She’s gone through door number two and is making her way to door number three.
“When He Sees Me” is one of the most theatrical songs on the album. It goes through all the waves of emotion that come about when dating someone new.
She goes through all possible scenarios that can occur when meeting a really nice, or really horrible, guy. The singer expresses her anxiety with her physical appearance, fear of being miserable, and even her concern with him being color blind.
“Soft Place to Land” is a relaxing, acoustic, tune about the lead character’s flashback to her mother. Bareilles’ voice compliments the song very well, leaving a pleasant melody for the listener.
“Never Ever Getting Rid of Me” speaks to women all over the world. It has a very jazzy sound to it, different from any of the songs on the album. It’s fun, with a hint of sarcasm. It’s also one of the shortest songs on the album, next to What’s Inside. The message is clear— “I love you means you’re never ever, ever, getting rid of me.”
“I Didn’t Plan It” gives the album a bit more sass. Bareilles’ character uses stronger language and seems to stand up for herself. She claims she won’t be taken for granted and wants to break free from the relationship she’s in.
“Bad Idea” tells the tale of how Bareilles and her doctor, Jason Mraz, feel guilty about having an affair while they are both married to other people.
While they are panicked about their decision, they don’t want to stop. Mraz and Bareilles have obvious musical chemistry that allows the song to flow effortlessly. Their voices complement each other using their similar soulful capability.
“You Matter to Me” is when the Bareilles’ character and Mraz’s character realize they’re in love with each other. Take out your tissues with this one. It has an Adele vibe to it that will hit you straight in the feels. It’s a sweet song
“She Used To Be Mine” releases a message of owning your imperfections. This is the only song on the album that has a music video for it, which features Bareilles in an Audrey Hepburn inspired hairstyle in a black and white setting playing piano.
“Everything Changes” is when the lead character gives birth to her baby. She recites what she’s learned through the progression of the album and what her new challenges will be. With a Defying Gravity from Wicked sound, this song is the anthem of what it is to be a mother.
“LuLu’s Pie Song” is fifteen seconds of what seems to be the movie credits. Sugar, butter and flour are defined as the ingredients she made her pie out of. The mystery is solved.
As far as the album itself, it is the exact opposite of anything Bareilles has done before. It’s great for her because this is what she’s always wanted to record but her fans may end up confused, and a bit disappointed in the dullness of her songs. All the songs sounded very similar and got really boring after a while.