Earlier this month, Sara Bareilles released her sixth album, Amidst the Chaos. The singer-songwriter’s career has changed drastically in the last few years, as a hit Broadway show and an Emmy-nominated turn as Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert have helped her move beyond pop. Songs like her recent single “Fire” prove, however, that the tinges of drama she’s learned in those roles have only made her pop songwriting stronger.
On “Fire,” Bareilles ponders the end of a relationship and, more importantly, accepts that end. As she reflects on her final moments with a loved one, she realizes that she knew all along that the pair would never catch fire, but she had hoped for so long that they would and refused to give up on its potential. By the end, she realizes that she’s better for having experienced this spark-less love, because now she’ll recognize real heat when it happens.
Bareilles’ lyrics and delivery unspool with Broadway-level theatrics. This song wouldn’t be out of place on the stage, and the video, which features a pair of dancers interpreting the trajectory of a doomed love, perfectly captures the song’s need for dramatic accompaniment. She’s always been an excellent student in the Carole King school of pop storytelling, but with “Fire,” Bareilles burns brighter than ever before.