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Sara Bareilles, ‘Brave’ – Song Meaning

Sara Bareilles
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Sara Bareilles‘ hit song ‘Brave’ caught fire in the media when critics compared Katy Perry’s smash hit ‘ROAR’ to it (suggesting it was Perry who took liberties with Bareilles’ already-established melody). Bareilles didn’t care, since she and Perry are pals and her song, with its poignant message about coming out, got more attention due to the association.

We’re breaking down the meaning of Bareilles’ ‘Brave,’ an empowering anthem if there ever was one. It’s penned from the perspective of one friend encouraging another to come out! It’s an important social issue, and Bareilles gives it a voice. With so many LGBT teens succumbing to pressure and committing suicide, this song offers a note of hope and support.

“Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do / When they settle beneath your skin / Kept on the inside and no sunlight / Sometimes a shadow wins.”

This poignant lyrical section of the song finds Bareilles essentially saying that sticks and stones may break your bones and words can sting, but letting things fester and burrow within you will hurt more and lead to further infection. So let it out. Don’t be afraid. The fears are real, but they can be conquered.

“Say what you wanna say / And let the words fall out / Honestly, I wanna see you be brave.”

Here, Bareilles is encouraging openness and the fostering of communication, which is key when coming out of the closet. It’s hard to be brave and to come out to those you love, but when you eventually find that bravery within yourself, it opens up the world. A ‘Brave’ new world, some might say.

“Everybody’s been there / Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy / Fallen for the fear / And done some disappearing / Bow down to the mighty / Don’t run, stop holding your tongue / Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live / Maybe one of these days you can let the light in / Show me how big your brave is.”

With an amazing, successful and talented artist like Sara Bareilles offering that kind of encouragement and support, how can one not summon courage and be brave? She points out that we’ve all had to put on our brave faces in life, and acknowledges that it’s tough. But in the end, it’s very freeing. How can you not want to show her how big your brave is? That’s an anthemic and repeat-worthy phrase right there.

However, the song is not one with lyrics that coddle; in fact, Bareilles is the mama bird, pushing the babies out of the nest so they can learn to fly on their own. And when they do, without the weight of being in the closet holding them down, they will soar!

PopCrushers, what’s your read of ‘Brave’– similar to ours, or different?

Listen to Sara Bareilles’ ‘Brave’

Next: See More Song Meanings

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