(Reggie Beehner)

By Melissa Mollohan

Sara Bareilles’ first major-label CD, Little Voice, proves that Bareilles (pronounced bar-rell-is) has a voice that is anything but little.The California native, featured on Vh1’s You Oughta Know tour, has a powerful, soulful voice much like Norah Jones, Fiona Apple or Colbie Callait.

And Billboard.com said Bareilles has had no formal training. I never would have guessed that by listening to her CD. I mean, really. This girl can sing.

She wrote all the songs on her album, and she even played the piano and acoustic guitar on most of her tracks. Impressive.

A recent Rhapsody commercial included Bareilles’ first single, Love Song.

In this song, Bareilles tells her lover she will not write him a love song just because he asked her to. Her lover gave her an ultimatum that if she didn’t write a love song for him he would leave: “If you’re on your way, I’m not going to write you to stay.” This song contains strong piano and vocal skills with a little bit of attitude.

And this tune is obviously catchy as it has been in the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 and is currently number three on the iTunes most-downloaded list.

I think the rest of the songs on the CD are easy to relate to, especially for college students. Her songs deal with alcohol, relationships and doubts. And we’ve all had our share of those.

Between the Lines is one of my favorites, not only because it shows her vocal and piano skills, but because it talks about letting go of a guy that you care about who is now with someone else. At the end of the song, she tells herself, “Don’t wait for him to come back. Let go.”

The ex-factor also shows up in Gravity. Some girls are pulled to their ex, much like gravity holds us to the ground. In this song, Bareilles is basically saying “leave me the hell alone”: “Set me free. Leave me be. I don’t want to fall another moment into your gravity.” Exes always try to come back in your life, but he’s an ex for a reason.

In Love on the Rocks, Bareilles, along with co-writer and manager Javier Dunn, compares a guy with alcohol: “Sip it slow ’cause it’s so nice.” However, Bareilles goes on to say that, although the feeling is nice at one point, it gets tiring. She also admits that she keeps doing it over and over again. It’s a vicious cycle, just like knowing what a hangover feels like and getting drunk anyway.

One thing I noticed when listening to this album is the fact that the music sometimes drowns out Bareilles’ voice. For example, in the song Vegas, the music is very busy at first and her singing doesn’t make much of an impact. This also happens in the sixth track, Morningside, where the music overpowers her amazing voice.

Her singing really shines in the tracks Come Round Soon and City. These two songs made me say, “Wow,” out loud. She has a phenomenal vocal range, especially on the last note of Come Round Soon.

But you cannot forget about her other musical talents: the piano, the guitar and her songwriting. You can hear her guitar skills in One Sweet Love and her piano skills in Many the Miles. Her lyrical talent is evident in Fairytale, a funny, twisted story about Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty. I think it will be her next hit. Heck, it’s already being shown on YouTube.