Bitter’s Kiss – Love Won’t Make You Cry

EP rating: 8.5 – bittersweet hope of human nature.

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Photo: The Rope (Radio Mix) – Bitter’s Kiss YouTube

Bitter’s Kiss is the solo project of New Jersey-based songstress, Chloe Baker, who grew up in a household filled with music. With the help of her father, Baker has been able to produce and record her own music in the past year.

“And I don’t mind watching couples hold hands / I hope they’re happy cus they won’t be in the end.” There is a double edged sword in the solitude that Bitter’s Kiss chants in the lead off song “No One Will” from her EP Love Won’t Make You Cry. The loneliness from feeling unwanted is paired with the sweet pleasure of knowing that companionship is temporary, giving the song an uneasy sense of comfort. You know it’s supposed to be sad, yet it feels more soothing. The New Jersey-based poptress, Chloe Baker or Bitter’s Kiss, does not stick to the cloying, bubblegum storyline of indie pop – rather, she peels off the layers of human vulnerability and exhibits the quirky pinch of optimism hidden underneath

But syrupy optimism isn’t Bitter’s Kiss’ defining quality – it is her authenticity and daring verve to speak about the dark side of human nature. Not every hope that Baker finds fits in the frames of idealism, as her second track “The Rope” depicts. The crisp production keeps a plateaued intensity where every percussive beat seems deliberately calibrated to maintain the wheel of tension spinning. “There’s a quicker way to heaven / If you can find yourself a rope” chants the piercingly euphonious vocals of Bitter’s Kiss. “The Rope” is by far the most personal moment of the EP – it was influenced by the suicide of a relative who had a strong religious background. The music video shows a little girl in a church surrounded by masked people who hide their cynic intentions.

The serious tone cools down in the third track, “Love Won’t Make You Cry,” where the minimalistic instrumental approach puts Baker’s vocal prowess in the front line. She goes on defining what love is by listing everything that is anti-love. While the melody feels frail, the oozing, cushioning voice of Bitter’s Kiss grounds you to her meditative soundscape. The instance where the tune feels slightly dissonant with the vocals is in “Friday Nights.” Although it has an overall chill flavor, it comes off unimpressive compared to other ones and has glitchy seconds where we lose track of Baker’s voice within the tune.

Bitter’s Kiss ends the EP with a punchy, wordplay ballad “My God” where she taps back to religion again. But this time she adopts a more sprightful tone that effortlessly waltzes into an upbeat, commercial-worthy track. Opening with the lines, “My God is better than your god / It’s better than her God” and ending it with “But it’s all the same God,” Baker shows the childish behavior people often exhibit over faith. The splashy cymbals and trumpet embedded within the synthphony makes “My God” the most sonically exhilarating piece of the EP – it’s a grand exit that leaves you with the sheer optimism that all the differences and loneliness we experience can serve as a common ground to come together.

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