Sara Bareilles: Orpheus

Written by Kate Bullock

Writer, performer, and administrator

May 6, 2020

A couple decades ahead in a brave new world called “the present”, lives Sara Bareilles, one of my favorite artists working today. Man alive, does she know how to write lyrics that resonate! She is so much more a poet than most people writing commercially at this minute in the industry, and in this case, cuts right to the quick – no frills, no preciousness, just a lyric with devastating truth. This album, from which I draw this Song of the Day was written in response to 2016, which, as many will agree, was a doozy. In true artist’s fashion, there was a period of despondence, followed by a bid to turn her hurting heart into some healing art. 

A couple of weeks ago I sat down at the piano and began to play (badly) with this song burning inside me. I managed to eke out “I know you miss the world / The one you knew / The one where everything made sense because you didn’t know the truth / That’s how it works / Till the bottom drops out / And you learn we’re all just hunters seeking solid ground” before dissolving into sloppy, sloppy quarantine tears. Though it had been written a year or more before we found ourselves smack dab where we are, it summarized my innermost feelings perfectly. The longing for an easier time that, in its moment, felt like a natural order, before falling away and revealing itself to be as ephemeral and precious as so many good and pure things in this life. 

This song is best when paired with chamomile tea, a solitary walk in the rain, and a day of the realest, rawest feelings. Somewhere in it lies a line that meets you right where you are and gently says “I’ve stood right where you’re standing, friend, and I’ll just sit here with you quietly.” Happy Wednesday! See you tomorrow for an old favorite song about “arches of colors formed in the sky in certain circumstances, caused by the refraction and dispersion of the sun’s light by rain or other water droplets in the atmosphere”. Any wild guesses?

Come by the fire
Lay down your head 
My love I see you’re growing tired so set the bad day by the bed 
And rest a while 
Your eyes can close 
You don’t have to do a thing but listen to me sing I know 
You miss the world 
The one you knew 
The one where everything made sense because you didn’t know the truth 
That’s how it works 
Till the bottom drops out 
And you learn we’re all just hunters seeking solid ground 

Don’t stop 
Trying to find me here amidst the chaos 
Though I know it’s blinding 
There’s a way out 
Say out loud 
We will not give up on love now 
No fear 
Don’t you turn like Orpheus 
Just stay here 
Hold me in the dark and when the day appears 
We’ll say 
We did not give up on love today 

I’ll show you good 
Restore your faith 
I’ll try and somehow make a meaning of the poison in this place 
Convince you love, don’t breathe it in 
You were written in the stars that we are swimming in 
And it has no name 
No guarantee 
It’s just the promise of a day 
I know that some may never see 
But that’s enough 
If the bottom drops out 
I hope my love was someone else’s solid ground 

Don’t stop 
Trying to find me here amidst the chaos 
Though I know it’s blinding 
There’s a way out 
Say out loud 
We will not give up on love now 
No fear 
Don’t you turn like Orpheus 
Just stay here 
Hold me in the dark and when the day appears 
We’ll say 
We did not give up on love today 
We’ll say 
We did not give up on love today

Kate Bullock

Kate Bullock is a writer, performer, and administrator based in New York City. She holds a Bachelor’s from the Crane School of Music where she studied Music Business and Vocal Performance. During her tenure in New York, she has worked in support of the New York Festival of Song, Kurt Weill Foundation, Étude Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Carnegie Hall, and serves as the concert artist liaison at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, in addition to her singing with Trinity Wall Street.

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