Bitter's Kiss - Bitter's Kiss
Folk, Pop What is it about New Jersey that produces so many grumpy, pseudo-gothic songwriters who mask their messages under uplifting music? If we leave out the fluff, both musical and follicular, that is Bon Jovi, we see that there are many legendary songwriters who upon first inspection seemed fun and pop-oriented at the outset. Once the surface was scratched, however, the meaning and message that artist was trying convey was not only different but dark. The best example, of course, is Bruce Springsteen. Most of his lyrics have an ironic twist that is sometimes so hidden that 95% of the population didn't get the joke. Ronald Reagan famously got the meaning of "Born in the USA" so wrong that he used it in his campaign ads as a pro-America song until Springsteen put a speedy stop to that.

If upon first listen you think Bitter's Kiss aka Chloe Baker, the teenaged singer/songwriter from Jersey, is just doing some little indie-pop ditties for a quick road to fame, take a second listen. The young Baker is a highly sensitive and skilled wordsmith who is not only wise beyond her years but smarter with her wordplay than most lyricists can dream, regardless of age. It doesn't hurt that she has the voice of an angel, either.

As an alternative/electronic website that leans heavily towards goth and industrial (unless I'm posting, of course), we're not necessarily focused on beautiful tone in vocals, but it certainly doesn't hurt. Baker's voice sounds a bit like Birdie or Eliza Dolittle but with a more unique quality to her vocals. Also she's dead-on pitch perfect and bell-clear with every note despite the mild distortion she applies to her voice. These qualities in Baker's voice make the depth and subject matter of her lyrics all the more surprising in this debut self-titled album because she could quite easily go the pop route were she so inclined. I'm telling you, there's something in the water in New Jersey.

As I have alluded to for two paragraphs now, there's something much more than meets the eye to "Bitter's Kiss". Chloe Baker, who is barely a teen not only has the vocal maturity and technique of an adult, but her lyrics are chillingly mature and sometimes altogether disturbing. Her musical maturity can at least partially be thanks to her musician father Michael, who does some of the guitar work and plays bass and drums on the album. The striking poetry and depth in the lyrics on the album, however, is all Chloe. The most notable example of what I'm talking about is in the song 'The Rope,' a beautifully written piece which discusses the difficulty of living with emotional pain and ultimately sympathizes with suicide. It's all done in parables, but the message is clear: sometimes it's all too much to bear. Check the video for this song below, too. It's even more creepy.

'The Rope' is also the least folk-infused song on the album, with a jazzy drum beat and a little electronic sampling in the background. The sort of junkyard country minor key it's written in really compliments the sad nature of Baker's incredible lyrics. The title track which leads the album also has some unconventional keys and guitars and again, the subject matter in the lyrics packs a wallop; they discuss addiction. It's not clear whether she's describing addiction to substances or people, but either way it's a very mature subject and a well-written poem set to music.

'Lovin' Life,' seems to be a surprisingly positive and electronic song on an album full of more pensive and guitar-driven tracks. Despite the positive bent, this track is still very honest as Baker talks about some of the difficulties she may have along the way, but it sounds like the ultimately comes out on the side of trying to stay positive. The electronic keys go along with this more upbeat lyrical tone, but this is still far from a vacuous, conventional pop song.

The album closes with 'Too Far too Fast,' a song which may explain Chloe's struggle with the emotional maturity which shows up in her lyrics. The old adage of "13 going on 30" may apply here, and as someone who went through that myself, I agree with Chloe. When your mind and heart mature faster than your body, it can be challenging but it sure produces some great work. I may be reading a bit into the first part, but the great work is certainly there with "Bitter's Kiss".

Despite her possible fears about going too fast, it seems Chloe Baker as "Bitter's Kiss" is well on her way to becoming a star, as her song says. With her poetic lyrics, vocal talent and musician dad all in her corner, Chloe could be the next indie-pop princess, and bring some depth to a genre which seems seriously lacking in that category lately. Jersey has done it again, it seems, by bringing us an artist who seems simple on the surface but whose work hides many strata of depth, emotion and sophisticated writing just beneath.
4
Brutal Resonance

Bitter's Kiss - Bitter's Kiss

8.5
"Great"
Released off label 2015
What is it about New Jersey that produces so many grumpy, pseudo-gothic songwriters who mask their messages under uplifting music? If we leave out the fluff, both musical and follicular, that is Bon Jovi, we see that there are many legendary songwriters who upon first inspection seemed fun and pop-oriented at the outset. Once the surface was scratched, however, the meaning and message that artist was trying convey was not only different but dark. The best example, of course, is Bruce Springsteen. Most of his lyrics have an ironic twist that is sometimes so hidden that 95% of the population didn't get the joke. Ronald Reagan famously got the meaning of "Born in the USA" so wrong that he used it in his campaign ads as a pro-America song until Springsteen put a speedy stop to that.

If upon first listen you think Bitter's Kiss aka Chloe Baker, the teenaged singer/songwriter from Jersey, is just doing some little indie-pop ditties for a quick road to fame, take a second listen. The young Baker is a highly sensitive and skilled wordsmith who is not only wise beyond her years but smarter with her wordplay than most lyricists can dream, regardless of age. It doesn't hurt that she has the voice of an angel, either.

As an alternative/electronic website that leans heavily towards goth and industrial (unless I'm posting, of course), we're not necessarily focused on beautiful tone in vocals, but it certainly doesn't hurt. Baker's voice sounds a bit like Birdie or Eliza Dolittle but with a more unique quality to her vocals. Also she's dead-on pitch perfect and bell-clear with every note despite the mild distortion she applies to her voice. These qualities in Baker's voice make the depth and subject matter of her lyrics all the more surprising in this debut self-titled album because she could quite easily go the pop route were she so inclined. I'm telling you, there's something in the water in New Jersey.

As I have alluded to for two paragraphs now, there's something much more than meets the eye to "Bitter's Kiss". Chloe Baker, who is barely a teen not only has the vocal maturity and technique of an adult, but her lyrics are chillingly mature and sometimes altogether disturbing. Her musical maturity can at least partially be thanks to her musician father Michael, who does some of the guitar work and plays bass and drums on the album. The striking poetry and depth in the lyrics on the album, however, is all Chloe. The most notable example of what I'm talking about is in the song 'The Rope,' a beautifully written piece which discusses the difficulty of living with emotional pain and ultimately sympathizes with suicide. It's all done in parables, but the message is clear: sometimes it's all too much to bear. Check the video for this song below, too. It's even more creepy.

'The Rope' is also the least folk-infused song on the album, with a jazzy drum beat and a little electronic sampling in the background. The sort of junkyard country minor key it's written in really compliments the sad nature of Baker's incredible lyrics. The title track which leads the album also has some unconventional keys and guitars and again, the subject matter in the lyrics packs a wallop; they discuss addiction. It's not clear whether she's describing addiction to substances or people, but either way it's a very mature subject and a well-written poem set to music.

'Lovin' Life,' seems to be a surprisingly positive and electronic song on an album full of more pensive and guitar-driven tracks. Despite the positive bent, this track is still very honest as Baker talks about some of the difficulties she may have along the way, but it sounds like the ultimately comes out on the side of trying to stay positive. The electronic keys go along with this more upbeat lyrical tone, but this is still far from a vacuous, conventional pop song.

The album closes with 'Too Far too Fast,' a song which may explain Chloe's struggle with the emotional maturity which shows up in her lyrics. The old adage of "13 going on 30" may apply here, and as someone who went through that myself, I agree with Chloe. When your mind and heart mature faster than your body, it can be challenging but it sure produces some great work. I may be reading a bit into the first part, but the great work is certainly there with "Bitter's Kiss".

Despite her possible fears about going too fast, it seems Chloe Baker as "Bitter's Kiss" is well on her way to becoming a star, as her song says. With her poetic lyrics, vocal talent and musician dad all in her corner, Chloe could be the next indie-pop princess, and bring some depth to a genre which seems seriously lacking in that category lately. Jersey has done it again, it seems, by bringing us an artist who seems simple on the surface but whose work hides many strata of depth, emotion and sophisticated writing just beneath. Apr 08 2015

Off label

Official release released by the artist themselves without the backing of a label.

Layla Marino

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

Share this review

Facebook
Twitter
Google+
22
Shares

Buy this release

Itunes

Related articles

Letum - 'Broken'

Review, Sep 25 2006

Cyanotic - 'Tech Noir'

Review, Sep 28 2017

Shortly about us

Started in spring 2009, Brutal Resonance quickly grew from a Swedish based netzine into an established International zine of the highest standard.

We cover genres like Synthpop, EBM, Industrial, Dark Ambient, Neofolk, Darkwave, Noise and all their sub- and similar genres.

© Brutal Resonance 2009-2016
Designed by and developed by Head of Mímir 2016