Come Round Soon

Come Round Soon (CRS) is the second of six tracks included on Little Voice that are re-imagined songs from her debut album Careful Confessions. The first CRS entry can be found here. Come Round Soon V2.0 (CRSv2.0) is a nice evolution of the original. In CRSv2.0 Sara has the time to flesh out the composition to become a full and very tight song. It sounds polished and and the song showcases her growth in self editing. All the silliness from the original has been stripped away, the sound effects, the A Capella opening and the result is a tight, well crafted song that I am sure if given the appropriate time and resources to Careful Confessions, CRSv2.0 would have been the only recording of the song.

Lyrically the song is similar with one glaring differentiation:

I can’t believe that he’s gone.

This lyric shows up only at the end as backing vocals and it clears up any misconception about the original CRS version’s meaning. It places the topic of CRSv2.0 squarely on the shoulders of the notion of an important person in her life that has stolen her heart, and she can?t forget him no matter what. She tries, but he?s the one thing she can?t live without. She tells herself ?maybe he?ll come round soon.?

Side note: When played live by Sara at her concerts Come Round Soon is played on an electric guitar and she riffs off bluesy chords and signs passionate lyrics. Jack White would be proud. The song seems more tortured and her soul in way more pain. Personally I like this version (CRSv3.0) much better. A YouTube video from Lauren Leialoha is below.

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Bright Lights and Cityscapes

As I write the last entry for Once Upon Another Time I’ve come to this conclusion: The over-arching theme of the entire E.P. is trust.

Song one, the title track, Once Upon Another Time was all about realizing you can trust in yourself. Stay promotes trusting in the moment. Lie To Me is all about trusting your instincts. Sweet As Whole celebrates the mental release that is the result of trusting in letting go about what others think. The trust from the finale song Bright Lights and Cityscapes comes from the idea that through friendship love will find a way.

Hollywood movies and television sitcoms have plenty of examples of the opposite sex best friend syndrome. When Harry Met Sally and Friends, Ross and Rachel being some of the most notable. Sarah’s heroine watches her best friend make repeated bad decisions in love. Despite her disapproval, she supports the friend, stands by them, encourages them, comforts them. She compares his dysfunctional lover to the city’s bright lights with the shiny objects that can distract one from the moment. All the while Sara’s heroine is wishing for him to notice her. It’s a painful emotional roller coaster of emotions. For she is the one true love. She would need no second chance because relationship failure is not to be if they would be together. She just needs him to come around and see that she has been standing beside him the entire time.

On a side note: Bright Lights and Cityscapes was the encore song on her 2014 Little Black Dress Tour. She sang this a capella with three other women tight around one microphone. It’s stunning in its simplicity, and the heartbreaking nature of the words were amplified. In case you didn’t get to experience it live it’s on YouTube and can be viewed below.

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Sweet As Whole

To date, this is the most bizarre song in Sara’s entire collection.

If you’ve ever seen Sara in concert you know she has no problem dropping the f-bomb. The juxtaposition of her sweet demure exterior, Catholic upbringing, beautiful voice and smile with a self-deprecating personality and raunchy potty mouth is rather fun to experience. Sweet As Whole is Dr. Demento after dark and a song I listen to when I need a good laugh. In the lyrics Sara takes everything you’ve always want to say to someone, and says it with a Richard Pryor filter.

A confident personality, realizing self worth and not taking someone’s shit are consistent themes in sara’s lyrics. Another common theme is passive aggressive communication laced with severe bitchiness. In several songs Sara masks dark topics with happy and bright compositions. In Sweet As Whole (Punny for Sweet Asshole) she abandons all the passive aggressive pleasantries and gets right to the point.

That guy’s an asshole.
That girl’s a bitch.

I would guess that her time on tour with Ben Folds has given her the confidence to write, and record a good a old cuss and pirate song like this. Ben Folds is no stranger to a “explicit” label on the songs he writes. Army, Rocking’ the Suburbs, or his cover of the Dr. Dre Bitches Ain’t Shit are just a few. Ben Folds is even singing vocals on the chorus with Sara, and the end of the song gets a bit silly. It’s not to hard to image them all huddled around the baby grand piano with frosty mugs filled with some hoppy IPA all swaying and rocking as they sing. The fact that Sweet As Whole resides on the e.p. doesn’t shock me either. An e.p. can be an artists opportunity to release hold over material to satisfy the ravenous fan base before the next full length record. They’re also a good opportunity for experimentation. So on the e.p. this song sits nicely. If Sweet As Whole was not on Once Upon Another Time and left to a full album release like The Blessed Unrest, it would stick out, kinda like that guy who’s an asshole.

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Stay

Imagine an evening where you meet someone.

Perhaps at a simple bus stop, at a summer outdoor garden, a crowded bar, or a random Saturday night party you weren’t going to attend because it’s on the roof top?of your eccentric co-workers apartment complex. (Let’s call him Steve, you know, the one with the OCD, the affinity for video games and the knack for hanging around far too long? Yep, that one.)

But this random evening, say at Steve’s apartment, you do meet someone. You lock eyes, and for no logical?reason you know there’s a connection. Their gravitational pull is intoxicating and you walk up and say “Hello.” Introductions are superfluous because in another lifetime you’ve already known each other. Your souls, connected centuries ago, you both just need to be reminded how. You never leave each other’s gaze. You talk like old childhood friends that flirted but never went steady, and you get consumed in the company while witnessing true beauty.

Before you know it two hours pass, and your rides have left.

Four hours pass, and so too has the buzz from the Manhattans.

You hold hands, maybe you kiss. Maybe your heart beats faster than you thought it could.

By now the birds are starting to wake, and it’s their chirping that ushers in the sun. With sunshine comes reality?You have to get back to your normal life. A normal life that doesn’t include this rekindled soul mate.

Stay is a song that has a very powerful message: Sometimes it’s only tonight that matters. Not the consequences. Not the ramifications or even the meaning. Sometimes this type of moment between two people defies all logic and is more than needed, it’s necessary, because what has transpired is bigger?than just love at first sight. It’s a reconnection of souls. It’s a moment that yearns for a run at the airport gate,?or standing outside a house raising a boom box over your head. But time is the enemy, because no matter how much we plead with each other to stay, responsibility creeps back in, we have to return to our respective lives and then the moment is lost forever.

Gonna feel it baby
Oh I don’t wanna cry
I know we’ll get to tomorrow and say goodbye
That’s why I’m asking for
Tonight


Stay tonight
Don’t come morning, don’t come light
They may be lies, but say that we’ll be alright
Say that we’re gonna be alright
Tonight

I encourage you to listen to this song several times in a row and at each listen focus your attention on specific instruments that make up the composition. They each represent how in-sync the two people are in Sara’s lyrics. The strings, light piano, rhythm guitar and even the backing vocals are all musical layers that work in concert with each other while contributing to a crescendo that is the overall magic and message of Stay. By the end Sara’s passionate vocal exudes so much pain, heartache and love, it’s easy to identify with her thoughts, especially if we connect with the words. The way she holds out “tonight” before the final chorus, conveys those aforementioned emotions, and just like the night we don’t want it to end.

#andrepeat this song again and again and it never will.

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Lie to Me

Lie to Me is one of the more direct songs Sara has written in her entire catalog. Ben Folds get co-writing credit here, was the producer on the track and provided the string orchestration. Upon first listen one might gather from it’s upbeat tempo and pop-like structure that this song is happy and destined to climb the charts of bubblegum pop. But to truly understand the song, it’s necessary to read the lyrics. This is not a happy song. In fact it’s rather dark, taken from the perspective of a person who has been burned one too many times by a certain someone, and now is fully expecting failure from them at every interaction. The song title is not “Lie to me because I want to be kept in the dark about the reality of our relationship”, but instead she knows it’s coming. It’s juxtaposed from the previous song on the record. In Stay she needed the lie so the night would never end. In Lie to Me she’s fed up with the person’s deception. She’s prepared, and doesn’t accept the behavior anymore. The first part of the chorus could really be a parenthetical addition to the song title (So I Can See You) Lie to Me.

This song is very different in structure. It has more of a traditional pop radio feel. There’s heavy sustain on the vocals that is a signature point of style on the entire EP. There are gritty loops, lots of electronic additions, and melancholy strings that make this song quite unique. I would guess this was the last song written for the EP, because Lie to Me feels like it was the proof of concept for songs that found their way on to the next album The Blessed Unrest. The drums in particular seem like a stepping stone to Brave. In Lie to Me the drums are the lead instrument. Not the piano. Not the bass, not even the loops.

I bet we all have a couple people in our lives that we’d love to breathe red when they start to fib. Watch out liars. Watch out Rollins Band, and Lance Armstrong. Look out Pinocchio. If Sara had her way you’d all be breathing red.

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Beautiful Girl

BeautifulGirl

This song is very hard to find. It’s not on any studio album, and while it’s tied to the EP Once Upon Another Time, it’s not on the EP. Beautiful Girl was only released as a 7″ vinyl only B-Side to Stay, the first single on the EP Once Upon Another Time, on Record Store Day in 2012.

Beautiful Girl is one of the many songs written by Sara that are autobiographical. She has mentioned in concerts that she wrote this song as an adult to her younger 13 year old self. It’s a beautiful song with lyrics that will resonate with any young teenage girl or boy that battles with peer pressure, bullies at school, boys or girls with raging hormones and one’s struggle to fit in amidst puberty and the constant barrage of what’s deemed pretty by model clad magazine covers and?celebrities in Hollywood.

Beautiful Girl is also one of the many songs written by Sara that promotes finding strength within yourself and not allowing outside pressure to dictate how you should live your life. This is a song that every 13 year-old girl should listen too. I’ve never met Sara, nor do I ever expect to have the opportunity, but if I did I would thank her. I would thank her for her courage to share such a personal?story for the benefit of others, and in this case for all the teenage?girls that will listen to?her?song and be moved. My own daughter included.