Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Album Review

Plenty of pop singer-songwriters through the decades have explored the geography of love, from its ecstasy-inspiring pinnacles to its despair-inducing depths. Sara Bareilles plays right along on her fourth effort, The Blessed Unrest, and this review will soon show which side of the emotional spectrum she prefers.

With the piano and her voice serving as her primary instruments (augmented with drum loops and some '80s-esque nods to synthesizers), Bareilles' sound brings to mind Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, Emeli Sandé and even Beyoncé. What sets her apart from most of her pop-music peers, however, is the precise and unusually evocative vocabulary she employs to tell her tales of love found and lost, of her dissatisfaction with her own weaknesses at times and her desire to be a better, stronger human being.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

On "Hercules," for example, Sara writes, "I miss the days my mind would just rest quiet/My imagination hadn't turned on me yet/I used to let my words wax poetic/But it melted, a puddle at my feet now/It's a calcifying crime, it's tragic/I've turned to a petrified past life of baggage/I want to disappear and just start over." I can honestly say that in the hundreds of albums I've reviewed over the years, I've never heard anyone use the word calcifying to describe the hardening of one's perspective on life and creativity. In response to that perceived lack, she offers up a nonsectarian prayer of sorts that she might become strong again: "'Cause I have sent for a warrior/From on my knees, make me a Hercules/I was meant to be a warrior, please."

"Chasing the Sun" finds Bareilles in a Brooklyn cemetery pondering, it seems, the carpe diem-infused wisdom imparted to her by a woman who's passed on: "You said, 'Remember that life is not meant to be wasted/We can always be chasing the sun/So fill up your lungs and just run.'" Later, Bareilles builds on that exhortation, singing, "All we can do is try/And live like we're still alive."

Future wedding classic "I Choose You" promises a life of faithfulness and shared discovery: "My whole heart will be yours forever/This is a beautiful start to a lifelong love letter/Tell the world that we finally got it all right/I choose you, I do/I will become yours and you will become mine/I choose you, I do." "Little Black Dress," conversely, shows us a woman working through a breakup who decides that life hasn't ended, a stance that's symbolized by her wearing a favorite dress and dancing to a favorite song (at home, it would seem). She also demonstrates self-respect when she says, "I am more than just somebody's puppet/ … It's time to connect the dots and draw a different picture up/And paint it with the colors of everything I ever was."

Several melancholy tracks ("Manhattan," "Islands," "1000 Times") unpack the emotions that accompany love lost or unrequited. These songs have a somber, reflective quality, but they never dip into full-on despair or vengeful vindictiveness. "Eden" plays with the imagery of that first garden as a woman realizes in retrospect that a relationship she thought was paradise really wasn't.

"Satellite Call" imagines Bareilles as an encouraging voice on earth sending up messages to struggling youth whom she describes as isolated satellites locked in lonely orbits. "This one's for the lonely child/Brokenhearted, running wild," the song begins. Later she affirms their dignity and worth: "You may find yourself in the dead of night/Lost somewhere up in the great, big, beautiful sky/You were all just perfect little satellites/Spinning 'round and 'round this broken earthly life/This is so you'll know the sound/Of someone who loves you from the ground/Tonight you're not alone at all."

"Brave" implores a timid friend to be honest, be herself and say what she needs to say to others. But …

Objectionable Content

That positive message changes complexion when surrounded by its intended context. Though the song never explicitly mentions homosexuality, Bareilles has said it was inspired by one of her friends who was wrestling with the decision to come out as a lesbian. The gay lifestyle magazine The Advocate said of "Brave," "The song, which [Bareilles] wrote with Fun lead guitarist Jack Antonoff, is destined to become an LGBT anthem for the ages." Bareilles told the magazine, "I think there's so much honor and integrity and beauty in being able to be who you are. It's important to be brave because by doing that you also give others permission to do the same." And in a video promoting the song, Antonoff added, "I'll always internalize it as a real civil rights anthem at a time when there are no civil rights anthems and there's a giant need for [them]."

"Manhattan" moves on to employ an intoxication metaphor to describe the heady first days of promising romance. The chorus of "Cassiopeia," which pictures a new relationship as two stars colliding, could be heard as sexually suggestive: "Tonight/Come on, come on, collide/Break me to pieces, I/Think you're just like heaven/ … Let's see what a fire feels like/I bet it's just like heaven."

Summary Advisory

Sara Bareilles' gift as a songwriter lies in her quietly poetic flare for expressing both emotions and perspective. It's a mature, engaging quality that's devoid of the usual sensual, superficial or melodramatic moments that so often accompany such pop musings. Then, nestled among the album's majority of songs about romance are also some positive messages about self-respect, living life to the fullest and keeping our chins up in tough times.

As for the admirable admonition to tell tough truths on "Brave," Bareilles' lyrical advice is nonspecific enough to be easily be applied in all manner of situations. But her interview statements about it cement the meaning as one of encouraging homosexual expression.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range









Debuted at No. 2.

Record Label





July 16, 2013

On Video

Year Published



Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!