Bitter’s Kiss is the primary project of New Jersey teenager Chloe Baker, and her self-titled debut EP is a wonderfully evocative, haunting collection of indie-pop tracks.
The songs are led by Chloe’s voice, which is smoky and highly emotive. She has interpretative skills far beyond her years, and despite the mature subject matter of many of her songs (“The Rope” deals with teenage suicide, and “Love Won’t Make You Cry” shows a very adult derision of relationships), she deals with her topics adeptly and honestly. I’ll get back to this later, but for now, let me just say that her voice has a huge amount of passion and she sings the shit out of this album.
To retain clarity, from here on out, when I write Bitter’s Kiss I’m referring to the album, not the artist. I’ll call her Chloe to keep things clear.
Produced by Chloe’s father, Michael Baker, Bitter’s Kiss has typical folk-pop instrumentation: acoustic guitars primarily drive the songs, but drums, electric guitars, bass, and synthetic strings also make appearances. “The Rope” is remixed for radio, and I would love to hear the original. A YouTube comment says, “the original is pure and beautiful, but I guess this is what radio wants, sad. still a great song” and I second that opinion (workhorse1966, 2015). The synthetic cello is annoyingly simple and distracted me from the underlying compositional skill present in the song.
Chloe released a music video for “The Rope” and it’s fantastic; to be honest, that video hit more nerves in me than the rest of the actual album. Watch it HERE. Directed by Ronald Riqueros, the video is gorgeously filmed and bone-chillingly creepy.
“The Rope” was by far my favourite song off the record, but “Waste Of It All” should get an honorary mention. Chloe’s melody hangs mainly around the fifth of the scale, but her bluesy deviations from that note give it a stunning emphasis.
Ultimately Bitter’s Kiss is fantastic. I would be supported by the people that brought its playcount on Soundcloud to nearly 700,000. My biggest problem with the album is something none of its creators could change: Chloe’s age. Here’s the thing. Her lyrics are solid but unbelievable – she sings on “No One Will,” “No one will ever kiss me/ No one will ever miss me/ No one will worry when I’m not around/ No one will step out on me/ No one will trample upon me/ No one will ever let me down/ I don’t mind watching couples hold hands/ I hope they’re happy ‘cause they won’t be in the end/ I don’t mind watching couples hold hands/ I hope they’re happy ‘cause they won’t be in the end/ When one of them is left heartbroken/ No one will ever call me/ No one will ever need me/ No one will ever love me at all”
Okay so that’s a lot, right? I know I just quoted half the song. Here’s my reasoning: I think the poignancy of Chloe’s voice is wasted on lyrics that sound like basic teenage angst. Because Chloe, everyone is gonna fucking adore you. This album is a fantastic first step into a very successful music career, and you have thousands of people who would eagerly await more music from you. But considering you’re at an age that makes me seriously consider removing the swears from this review, you unfortunately are not going to be taken seriously when you write jaded songs about how love sucks.
All that being said, this album is an incredible piece of work by an undeniably talented and hardworking young woman, who has all the makings of an admirable and passionate artist. Check it out here.
1. Love Won't Make You Cry
2. The Rope
3. Waste Of It All
4. No One Will