Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Sara Bareilles – King of Anything

Because now = INDIE SPOTLIGHT!!!…


Jonathan Bogart: How do you take a piano line that funky and make something so unfunky out of it? I like the cut-n-paste vocal breaks, and the chorus is a proper singalong, oo-sound whoops and all, but it’s ultimately just too generic and pleased with itself to love.

Chuck Eddy: I am familiar with the sarcastic phrase “Who died and made you king?,” and I suppose it’s about time somebody put it into a song. But is the “of anything” something Sara added, or some sort of regional variation? If the former, her talk parts alternating with hiccup parts don’t add up to nearly enough panache to make me care whether she’s being clever or just pretentious. But I don’t mind the precious hints at jazzish/soulish arrangement; this’d sound even blanker otherwise.

Michaelangelo Matos: The spiritual offspring of Meredith Brooks’ “Bitch,” one of the foulest records ever made, only instead of a chorus pitched not at giggly 12-year-olds getting off on kinda-swearing in public, Bareilles offers a chorus that isn’t charmingly juvenile but brazenly childish: “Who cares if you disagree/You are not me,” its curling opening note hit with the same phony conviction that is the mark of quality on every Sara Bareilles joint.

Al Shipley: She comes off way too cute and sweet for this song to be the effective dressing down it’s aiming for, but the overall effect is charming nonetheless. Nice unexpected bit of punch in the drums and handclaps, too.

Alfred Soto: Robust piano hook and the kind of lyrics that would please Aimee Mann. Rather glib, though, but she’s a more interesting singer than Mann, so here’s hoping she sinks her teeth into something more substantial.

Martin Skidmore: Obvious vocal skills, but the fuck-you elements of the song are not backed up by any muscle, and the whole thing reminded me rather of Shania’s “That Don’t Impress Me Much”, and I suspect she wanted something different from that. It’s not as catchy as that by a long way, and the opening is annoying.

Pete Baran: The type of track talk shows need to survive, Sara manages to solidfy her ever so slightly distinctive style, which is something when the infantry of piano-based singer-songwriters are routinely getting slaughtered on the fields of pop battle.

Doug Robertson: Someone should probably tell Sara that Ally McBeal was cancelled in 2002 and besides, Vonda Shephard would’ve killed before giving up that gig.

Mallory O’Donnell: I look forward to hearing this in CVS.

Katherine St Asaph: As a gateway female singer-songwriter, Sara is likable enough, and the piano jaunting here is more lively than many songs like it. But every time I hear a Sara Bareilles song, all I can think of is the dozens of more interesting artists out there. Music might not be a zero-sum game, but time is.

John Seroff: There’s a few nice turns of phrase in “King of Anything” (“so busy making maps/with your name on them in all caps” stands out) but these are bloodless jabs, empty within the context of Bareilles’ tale-as-old-as-time of the quiet girl who isn’t going to put up with your shit anymore. Long single short: you’re so vain that she probably wrote this song about you. Or maybe for you. Or who cares, whatever; why look too closely? This may not sound like much but it does sound like a hit, so quit peeking behind the curtain and roll with the formula. Besides, it’s your night out; what’s wrong with a bit of entitled empowerment-lite, especially when it comes with a singalong chorus? Nothing exactly, but the point here seems to be that you shouldn’t have to settle for someone who doesn’t respect your intelligence. I agree.

3 Responses to “Sara Bareilles – King of Anything”

  1. It’s so funny to read your nasty comments–Did you miss the whole point of the song?? She’s talking to YOU– “Who cares if we disagree-You are not me!” She’s great and has alot more to say in this next album. Hope it reaches you up in your ivory tower!

  2. ^^I really hope this is the retired tennis player Anne Miller, who beat Serena Williams 6-1 6-1 in Serena’s first ever senior match back in 1995.

    Probably not, though.

  3. Wow. I managed to get halfway through these “critiques” and my pretention-o-meter is already off the charts. I realize that everyone is entitled to their opinions, but these judgements were ridiculously harsh, and in most cases, not substantiated by an actual reason for not liking the song. Seriously, someone gave it a 1? (The same someone who deemed “Teach Me How to Dougie” to be 9 worthy, a song that sounds as if it was specially formulated to use in torture sessions at Gauntanamo Bay). Mostly, it appears that instead of citing honest and intelligent reasons for your opinions, you decided that pompous and underdeveloped criticisms seemed more clever (‘seemed’ being the operative word). Although, while I can appreciate the irony in how your critiques relate to the overarching theme of the song, I just thought as reviewers that you might, you know, appreciate talent or justify your arguments. Stuff like that. Or do they not teach that in Music Snobbery 101?
    PS: Reading this back, I realize that my diatribe had a little more snark than intended (although, no more than your critiques I suppose). Anyway, sorry if it offended anyone. I just think ‘King of Anything’ deserves a little more credit for being a fun, charming song with more thoughtful lyrics than most of the other Top 40 schlock these days.