Listen: Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts"

I originally intended to write about Christina Perri's beautiful ballad "Jar of Hearts" way back when it came out in September. I was struck by the simplicity of the arrangement, the emotive lyrics, and Perri's powerful vocal. However, I doubted my instincts. I thought it's just too simple to go anywhere and wouldn't make it past a promotional blitz on VH1. For a while, I was right.

Then something strange happened. I heard one of the bigger Contemporary Hit Radio stations playing "Jar of Hearts." Then I heard it on the next station and the next. Then I heard it on pretty steady rotation. Somehow, someway, Christina Perri's song that I was drawn to six months ago has come into the public consciousness. I'm happy for her, but embarrassed I didn't stick to my guns and write this up when the idea first crossed my mind.

What draws me to this song, first and foremost, is Perri's vocal quality. I'm pretty sure she's a soprano (or a higher-leaning Mezzo). There are certain expectations for a soprano in popular music. The more successful sopranos have either been powerhouse torch song singers or sickly sweet little packs of bubble gum pop. Perri is neither. For a solo female singer in this day and age, her voice has a lot of character and grit. It's distinctive and evocative. You aren't going to mistake her voice for another singer getting radio play nowadays.

Then there's the song itself. "Jar of Hearts" is a bit abstract in its core metaphor, but it's ultimately a song about questioning the motivations of someone who you thought loved you but really didn't. It's a different take on the break-up song. The singer is a victim only in the sense that she was dumped. The rest of the song is a combination of coping with disappointment and coming to the realization that a person like that isn't worth fighting for. He's done it before and he'll do it again.

And who do you think you are Running 'round leaving scars Collecting your jar of hearts And tearing love apart You're gonna catch a cold From the ice inside your soul So don't come back for me Who do you think you are

Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts" is unlikely to be a super-hit overnight. It's a bit too situational to be sold to every movie trailer that comes out and a bit too off-trend to use as a recurring theme on a TV show. However, I would suggest the single is going to have legs. It may never reach number one, but it will most likely have steady airplay for quite some time.