Sara Bareilles’ song Manhattan, from the album The Blessed Unrest, reminds me of movie soundtracks and piano bars at midnight. The haunting power of this heartbreakingly beautiful song is heightened by simple city photography. (Sorry about the horrible YouTube/google ads.)

Why am I posting this? Because I love it and because I love sharing music and you may not have come across Sara Bareilles. When I was a teenager, before the days of Walkmans and iPods, we used to listen to each other’s records on vinyl and talk for hours about music, film, books and poetry; when cassettes came out, we made each other mix tapes. Manhattan speaks to me of human resilience, of creating beauty from sadness and of knowing when to let go. The whole album is an anthem to brave authenticity and creative renewal. These are the lines I sing along with most loudly in the car:

“And so it goes, one foot after the other till black and white begin to color in…”

If you like her voice and lyrics, and you sometimes experience bouts of cyber hibernation, inner conflict and creative self doubt, then check out Hercules; there are a couple of discrepancies between the video lyrics and the song that bug me, but with lyrics like hers, it’s still worth pointing you to the song.


  1. Janice,

    I LOVED the song. I liked the words you picked, but I also liked these: “holding us in place is the fear of what’s already changed.” It’s funny because I’ve been doing some reading on “liminal space” today and this line just jumps out at me because it fits.

    Oh, and what you said about piano bars is so true. I miss them. Where I live we don’t have any. I loved walking into one and hearing the buzz of people talking, but catching the sound of the music, like the scent of a nice perfume drifting around me. Piano bars always made me relax:~) Anyway, thanks for sharing this!!
    Sara recently posted…Picture QuoteMy Profile

    1. …hearing the buzz of people talking, but catching the sound of the music, like the scent of a nice perfume drifting around me.

      Hi Sara,
      I do hope you periodically gather the beautiful quotes you leave on other folks’ blogs; as a fragrance and music obsessive, the phrase above sang to me! I am convinced that you and I and the other caring creatives who show up in these boxes would make for a wonderful evening’s chat in a wine bar somewhere!

      If you enjoy exploring liminality, check out Joanna’s blog; she’s made the poetic and photographic capturing and expression of the concept an art form. That’s where I met and became blogging friends with Jane. (box below this one)

      The line that stood out for you is one of my favourites , too, and was actually in my original draft; I cut it in case I ruined the impact of it in the sang – restraint isn’t one of my strong suits so I have been practising!

      Thanks for taking the time to come over and share so warmly; I know you’re busy with your fiction writing at the moment so I appreciate it.

  2. Janice, I hadn’t heard of Sara Bareilles, but I sat in silence at my computer listening to ‘Manhattan’ just now and felt pins and needles up my spine. I am glad you posted Hercules too. That really spoke to me, and funnily enough while I was in our lovely little hospital staring out of the window at the birds and the tree with it’s leaves turning Autumn colours, I was able to spend some precious time thinking things through and I feel so much stronger for it. Perhaps, in a weird way, that mysterious illness was just what I needed. Thank you again for introducing me to this very lovely singer, I will go and check out some more of her songs.

    1. It’s lovely to see you here in the boxes again, Jane! You and your wee photo have been missed! I hope you’re feeling better; sometimes the universe lays us low for exactly the reasons you refer to above, to give us time and space to recalibrate and reappraise.

      I really appreciate you visiting, not just because you’re recuperating at the moment, but it’s good to hear that the post landed. It’s always good to hear I’m not the only one who gets shivers when I’m reading or listening to someone’s post. (Did you read Joanna’s post about riparian woodland?)

      It really is enough to know that people I care about may have found a few lovely songs because I’ve trusted my instincts and posted something that moves, inspires and encourages me. I hope you’ll be up and blogging again soon, and not just to share your words and glorious photos, but your presence; we all need that kind of warmth and genuineness.

  3. OMG, that is my new favorite song, thank you, thank you!

    And my dear, I am a friend of Sara Healy, have been blogging buds quite a few years now, and I’ve grown to love her with the passion of a million galaxies. Your recent comment to her about the Oscar Wilde quote keeping you going when you feel down or think you might like to walk away from blogging really struck me. I know the feeling of wanting to stop blogging, and though I post much less frequently than I used to, I keep it up because of the friendship. So keep going!!! Even if you don’t post too often or take a break, enjoy that breather and know it’s totally fine to do so.

    Jannie Funster recently posted…“Everybody’s Buttocks Are Beautiful” song lyricMy Profile

    1. Hi Jannie,
      What a lovely surprise! I remember you (and your eye 😉 ) from the ‘old’ days … Sara, Hilary, Patricia, Barbara Swafford, Lance, Davina, Lori, Vered, Nadia, Carla, Sean, Randi, Brenda and so many others – we were very lucky to be blogging back then! Like you, it’s the friendships old and new that keep me going. Every time I log back on after a cyberhibernation, I visit old friends’ blogs to ease myself in and it makes me happy when I see familiar gravatars like yours. What made me even happier last time I popped over to your site via Sara’s or Hilary’s, in one of my many silent phases, was to see that you’re still making music as well as loving family life! That, for me, is the core of blogging – to live real life to the full and to want to share gifts, treasured moments, life lessons, fun times and all the bits that cry out to be shared.

      I don’t know if you subscribe to comments, but if you do, you might like the music posts ‘The Path of Love’ and ‘I Find your Love’ (in the sidebar under posts with music.)

  4. It is not ALS or MS and is only a stroke in the foot which will heal with aggressive therapy – I was high all day yesterday from the news of the nots. I even found some simple pain relief that keeps me even all day and allows sleep at dark, and oh well when I am reading too.

    I too, do know know this singer nor piano bars. I was only allowed musicals and classical at home and then I discovered other music in the middle of a America in a wheat field of college. I read blogs and poems and listen to music on my Friday afternoon computer adventure – why did I need all this falling down and so much more healing in my life is my pursuit today – it is amazing to discover the whys and wonder at the outcome
    Wind, rain and sunshine of spring I think the tulips are being sacrificed this thought to be holy Friday?
    Patricia recently posted…THE DEAD KEY: A Mystery & Thriller Award Winner ~D.M. PulleyMy Profile

    1. Sorry for not getting back to you sooner, but I’ve been on a cyber break for Easter; my son’s still off school, my elderly dad was staying with us and my daughter came home from uni.

      So happy you’ve learned you don’t have MS or ALS – that must be a huge relief! As you say, anything that gets us asking the big questions and appreciating every moment is worth exploring. I’m happy, too, that although aggressive physio doesn’t sound too pleasant, you at least know what you’re up against and how to deal with it, and that you’ve found pain relief that works, especially something that lets you sleep and read. You’re going to have such a quality of life boost even after the highs of the initial diagnosis fade!

      Thank you for making my sporadic wee blog something you have in your Friday reading collection; I do appreciate it. I hope you’ll check out the music posts in my sidebar – as you know, I’m in my element around music and poetic lyrics and I enjoy pointing folk towards songs they might enjoy.

  5. She has such a beautiful voice, and the music and images are satisfyingly simple and minimal, allowing the voice and lyrics to come strongly through. I don’t know Sara Bareilles at all – we have loads of music in the house but since it’s my husband’s passion more than mine, I let him buy the CDs! I like his taste, so it works out fine, but it’s good to hear something different.

    Lyrics? well, I’d have to say ‘Holding us in place is fear of what’s already changed’. So true for me, more often than I like to admit.

  6. Hi Gilly,
    I was curious to see what a photographer would make of the video so I’m glad it didn’t detract from her voice. I don’t watch YouTube videos regularly or follow channels – I get brain fry if I link-surf there – but I occasionally enjoy that added visual element of seeing an artist performing or appearing in their own video. It appeals to my multi sensory brain. I liked the video’s simplicity, too, how it gave me a sense of the Manhattan she was singing about, the simple things she’d enjoyed and would miss.

    I’ve been enjoying my kids’ music taste these last few years, loving all the new music energy they’ve been bringing into my life. My husband and I fight over music in the car because there are songs from the eighties that I love so much I don’t want him to play them too often in case they lose their power, and no-one in my family lets me play my Greek music collection in the car! You’re lucky your husband and you are on the same page.

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