I know that my "tough guy" reputation is going to endure significant damage because of this post; nonetheless, I will press onward.

It is a bit of a secret that I write CD reviews for my wife's website, maryandstella.com.  Every Tuesday, I find a new album, listen to it a billion times, and then write something fairly contrived–but with big words–that sounds like an exhaustively knowleable review.  

Anyway, last week, I reviewed Sara Bareilles' new (and first) album, "Little Voice."  Approaching this CD, I was a bit skeptical. It is not secret that I do not particularly care for female artists.  There are notable exceptions, of course (like Jewell, Sheryl Crow, Ella Fitzgerald, etc.), but on the whole I prefer the music my own gender makes.  So it was with significant trepidation that I logged onto Napster to listen.

To completely destroy any potential suspense, I was absolutely blown away.  From beginning to end, Little Voices is quite superb.  While I was expecting the same warmed over Kelly Clarkson/Mandy Moore fare, Bareilles' album is incredibly interesting from a musical perspective.  On some tracks, like my favorite 'Gravity,' Bareilles is vulnerable, sensitive and deliciously melodic.  On others, like 'Morningside,' the pace is entirely changed to straight-up funk-soul.  The listerner is never made comfortable as the album progresses and is left, at the end, with the impression of something good and fresh having occurred.

But where Bareilles shines the most is in her lyricism, with communicating smart wordsmanship and thoughtful structuring.  Combined with completely complementary production on every song, Bareilles' words and music blend together nearly seamlessly to create a powerful, meaningful and memorable listening experience.

Anyway, I don't have much more to say.  To understand what I mean, you should really listen to it.  I will leave you with my favorite lyric from the entire album — "One Sweet Love":

Just about the time the shadows call
I undress my mind and dare you to follow
Paint a portrait of my mystery
Only close my eyes and you are here with me
A nameless face to think I see
To sit and watch the waves with me till they re gone
A heart I'd swear I'd recognize is made out of
my own devices'.
could I be wrong?

The time that I've taken, I pray is not wasted
Have I already tasted my piece of one sweet love?

Sleepless nights you creep inside of me
Paint your shadows on the breath that we share
You take more than just my sanity, you take my reason not to care.
No ordinary wings I'll need
The sky itself will carry me…back to you
The things I dream that I can do I'd open up
The moon for you–just come down soon

The time that I've taken
I pray is not wasted
Have I already tasted my piece of one sweet love?
Ready and waiting for a heart worth the breaking
But I'd settle for an honest mistake in the name of
one sweet love.

Savor the sorrow to soften the pain
Sip on the southern rain
As I do, I don't look don't touch don't do anything
But hope that there is a you.
The earth that is the space between,
I'd banish it from under me–to get to you.
Your unexpected love provides my solitary's suicide–oh I wish I knew