The “Who Cares” Meaning Behind “King of Anything” by Sara Bareilles

Who cares if you disagree? This single line represents the meaning behind Sara Bareilles’ song “King of Anything.” The singer/songwriter from Eureka, California, had success with the song in 2010—it was the lead single from her album Kaleidoscope Heart. Bareilles embraces empowerment in many of her songs. Self-sufficiency is vital to the character of this song. The first step in that journey is awareness. Empathy is important—it can be a stumbling block for us all. Processing what is happening as it occurs is key. Bareilles taps into that with this song. 

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The person “sitting across from her” is kept intentionally vague. The point of the song is not diluted by knowing the exact situation. It can be interpreted as an authority figure, a partner, a friend, or a stranger. Everyone has an opinion, and they certainly aren’t afraid to share it.

Keep drinking coffee, stare me down across the table
While I look outside
So many things I’d say if only I were able
But I just keep quiet and count the cars that pass by
You’ve got opinions, man
We’re all entitled to ’em, but I never asked
So let me thank you for your time
And try not to waste anymore of mine
And get out of here fast
I hate to break it to you babe, but I’m not drowning
There’s no one here to save

“I’ve had more unsolicited advice on my life than I care to mention, and this was how I dealt with it,” Bareilles stated when the single was released. “It felt empowering to turn that frustration into music, especially a song that doesn’t even sound angry.”

Who cares if you disagree?
You are not me
Who made you king of anything?
So you dare tell me who to be?
Who died and made you king of anything?

Bareilles continued, “That’s sort of what ‘Love Song’ was as well. Apparently, I don’t get over things very quickly.” “Love Song” was her Epic Records debut single from the album Little Voice. It peaked at No. 4 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The sleeper hit stayed in the Top 10 for 19 weeks. 

“King of Anything” was produced by Neil Avron, who has worked with Weezer, Fallout Boy, New Found Glory, and Everclear. The song was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Female Pop Performance category.

You sound so innocent, all full of good intent
Swear you know best
But you expect me to jump up on board with you
And ride off into your delusional sunset
I’m not the one who’s lost with no direction
But you’ll never see
You’re so busy making masks with my name on them in all caps
You got the talking down, just not the listening

So many of our relationships can feel one-sided. Bareilles takes on that very notion with this song. We can all be guilty of assuming that other people think the same way we do. Of course, that is not reality. We send our message out without receiving the other person’s views. This song is a call for empathy.

All my life, I’ve tried to make everybody happy
While I just hurt and hide
Waiting for someone to tell me it’s my turn to decide

“It’s about someone who’s trying to manipulate and control you,” Bareilles told VH1. “You’re saying, ‘You don’t get to tell me what to do.’ It’s an anthem for the frustrated.”

Who cares if you disagree?
You are not me
Who made you king of anything?
So you dare tell me who to be?
Who died and made you king of anything?
Let me hold your crown, babe

The message is clear. The singer is dismissing the advice that is being shared. It’s conveyed in an easygoing, almost flippant way. Bareilles is sending a sarcastic message as she asks to “hold your crown.”  You may not agree with me, but who cares if you disagree?

Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images

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