Sara Bareilles: Looking Through A 'Kaleidoscope Heart'

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Sara Bareilles says she likes to write sounds that sound happy but are realling telling people to kiss off. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Sara Bareilles

Sara Bareilles says she likes to write sounds that sound happy but are realling telling people to kiss off.

Courtesy of the artist

In June 2007, singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles released the first single from her album Little Voice. She wrote the track in response to her label's request to write a "marketable love song" instead of one about an actual person. "Love Song" was nominated for two Grammy Awards and went triple-platinum.

Bareilles' first single from Kaleidoscope Heart, "King of Anything," seems to be the anti-"Love Song" — a piano-pop-driven kiss-off.

"I think I have some anger-management issues, and they end up coming out in these passive-aggressive songs that sound happy," Bareilles says. "But I still feel like I'm telling someone to kiss off."

Passive-aggressive songs aside, Bareilles says she was intent on making "King of Anything" the album's top priority.

"I wasn't asking permission anymore," she tells Weekend Edition Sunday host Liane Hansen. "I was trying to guide my vision."

Bareilles says she tries not to read reviews of her own work, but can't help but read about her friends' records. One day, she came across a particularly cruel critique.

"It's so easy to just rip someone's work apart," Bareilles says. "I'm thinking about my friend here who put blood, sweat and tears into this record, and to this person, it's just so easy to tear it apart. I wrote ['Machine Gun'] as kind of an aid to myself to build up my defenses of going back into the world of being critiqued."

September is the beginning of meteorological winter, which means the hours of sunlight are dwindling. Being from northern California, it's a phenomenon Bareilles knows well, and the Alfred Hitchcock-sampling "Not Alone" addresses her new home — where she does live alone.

"I wrote that song to myself," Bareilles says. "It makes me feel constructive with something that can be very debilitating. If you take your fear and mash it into something that's actually useful, then it doesn't feel like it wins."

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