bitter's kiss - Bitter's Kiss cd coverShe passes through the corridors singing a child’s song. Her words call you to the room untouched for so long. Her voice echoes like a memory in black and white. She is bright in sight and old in soul; she speaks as though she’s lived before. Bitter’s Kiss is a project set to showcase the talent of the young singer/songwriter Chloe Baker with the musical assistance of her father.

“Are you asking why it hurts when you smile? Are you thankful for the pain?”

These are words from “The Rope” written by Chloe Baker. This high school girl breathes a scar into the word pain. The tone is as haunting as her voice. You feel as though you are following a child ghosts into unlit rooms.

Opening the door to Bitter’s Kiss, we are greeted by the title track. Within the first few moments, we both agreed that what limits Chloe is the sound guiding her melody. Her voice reaches beautiful places, but the music limits her. It leaves the listener knowing she needs more to be released. Halfway through the song we both agreed that the words within are well written but is she a victim of production? For a young girl to have such vision when her cage is all that she has known. It is fitting for someone singing about the mundane of suburban living. But there is nothing in the lyrics that hints that this is a young lady just beginning her life. Therein lies the issue with this release. Is Chloe being staged and produced?

Her voice screams for more. She casts a lullaby upon the listener. It is sweet and yet ghostly in its steps. She walks upon the old hardwood floor of your heart. Yet she is limited to the musical quality equal to a young girl and a karaoke machine. We wonder if her talent has outgrown the roots she has ripened in. We continued our journey through this record full of questions and speculation.

In the dance hall of her fatalistic view, we are lured through the room to the song ‘Waste of it all.” It is as though the listener were being led through a terrible tomorrow. What was it all for? We both think of everything we have been through with every lover gone. We wonder how she does this? How does she know the things someone her age shouldn’t?

She shifts suddenly to “Love Won’t Make You Cry.” Immediately, I think of Lana Del Rey with her vocal delivery. Lizzy notices the hints of Ingrid Michaelson. It is perfect in its pitch. She teaches through her youthful, naive view. Lizzy wonders if the entire song is meant to be ironic. Looking back at all the negative views of love and relationships in the first few tracks, it’s hard to think that the same girl truly believes the words she is singing in this song. Perhaps it is truly from the mouths of babes.

With the return of her tragically sad outlook of her romantic future, she spins “No One Will.” In it she declares, very matter-of-factly, her ill-fated ideals of love. You can hear her walls being built brick by brick. I want to cradle her cynical heart with hope.

“Loving Life” is an expletive to the world that tells her she should be happy. Is she 30? Alone? Broken? No. She is a teenager. This is where her talent lies truly in its uniqueness. It is peppy in its tune yet has hints of pessimism in its declaration. This is the first song on the album that seems to fit in an adolescent world. The words ring true but again, the sound leaves me wondering again who bought the sound machine?

We moved on hoping to hear more of her youthful side but were met with “Already Gone” and the look of disappointment on both of our faces said it all. A song about lies, demons and starting over.

“I’m conflicted, drunk on confusion. I’m addicted, my thoughts are like drugs.”

Not that these are not beautiful lyrics. Not that her voice doesn’t bring life to these words. But in a world where the newest generation grows up faster than the last, it’s hard to hear such a young talent utter such mature and jaded prose.

The final track on the album, “Too Far Too Fast” would have had the potential to be a pretty and inspirational song about slowing down and figuring out who you are but it falls flat in its delivery. There really wasn’t a terrible song on the album until we heard this one. The concept has been done so many times that in order for this song to work, she would have either needed to rework the lyrics or come out with a more powerful and striking version.

This collaboration with her father may not be fitting for her. Knowing the costs of studio musicians and recording, we understand why this pairing most likely occurred. There is also something genuine and sweet about a father and his daughter creating something beautiful together. But we are left wondering how far would she fly if she was allowed to do so.

The summation from Bitter’s Kiss is that there is a songbird with pure talent hiding it its midst. Can she fly high enough above her nest? Or is she the bird held under wing and never truly at flight? Her voice has a power to stop the truest of hearts. We find similar souls in such a delivery. Her talent shines through the cell block she currently resides in. We hope to one day hear her free. We hope to see her fly. But Bitter’s kiss holds her too close to the ground.



Follow Chloe Baker’s project Bitter’s Kiss on Facebook.

Extended Plays is an ongoing music series written by myself and my partner Lizzy. We listen to music, go with our gut and spill our honest and sometimes brutal opinion all over this blog. We hope you take the time to check out the artists we review for yourselves. We tend to believe that we are always right about everything but the most beautiful thing about music is that our opinion doesn’t matter to anyone but ourselves.



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