Chlöe Bailey - In Pieces


Staff member
Pitchfork gave her a 6.1 which is nice all things considered, but the actual review... oop

Beyoncé protégé Chloe Bailey is a generational talent, but the generic songwriting and chemistry-free features on her solo debut don’t make the case.
Her debut solo album In Pieces is a compilation of soulless singles curated to produce kiss-off captions. It spends so much time defining what Chlöe isn’t—Halle, a Bible-thumping prude, a moral absolutist—that by the end, we have no clue who the mononymous singer actually is.
In what reads as a desperate attempt to secure a hit, Chlöe aligns herself with “bad boy” and notorious abuser Chris Brown for “How Does It Feel,” a song with the sexual appeal and emotional intimacy of Apple’s Terms and Conditions.
The emotionally charged conversational interludes and narrative intros (“Do you ever wonder, like, who else is fucking your man?”) are out of place amid the redundant themes and mind-numbingly online songwriting. It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure with only two endings: There’s a good-for-nothing man in her life who keeps betraying her, so will she A) give it to God or B) shake some ass and show him what he’s missing? The unfaithful men and nameless “fuck niggas” she croons about are so abstract it’s impossible to connect with her devastation. Does he buy you nice stuff? Is the dick good? Do you not want another woman to profit from your emotional labor? Moments that could’ve built up to rewarding catharsis are dead on arrival.
Still, her most compelling work has been with Halle by her side, complementing her maximalist tendencies. Together, their music struck a golden balance of lively, introspective, and evocative. Now that Halle is a Disney princess, Chlöe cosplays as a dominatrix. In Pieces meets a fate worse than controversy: banality.
Imagine taking all of that launch hype and refusing to build up a fanbase and conversation about her post-Have Mercy, only to half ass this release that feels more like a mixtape.
Pitchfork gave her a 6.1 which is nice all things considered, but the actual review... oop
Damn ... the accuracy.

The most baffling thing about all of this is Chloe was at the helm of writing and production for like -- their whole career, so we know that the talent AND the taste used to be there. So ... whatever all this is just doesn't make sense knowing what she's capable of.
On first listen my standouts are Looze You, Cheatback and of course Body Do, but yeah, this whole thing is very middling - nothing hits the heights of Have Mercy or Surprise which I loved, and we know the talent is there so it’s a shame!
In Pieces feels undercooked and hollow. It's trying to be both a personal piece of R&B storytelling and an attempt at vapid Tik Tok virality but manages to do neither successfully. I don't feel I've learned anything about her nor do I feel anything has the potential to go viral. It just sits in a middle zone of nothingness. I'm not trying to be overly critical but given how amazing Ungodly Hour was, this feels like a creative step backward.

Dare I say, the 4 singles she canceled are better than the material on this album. At least those songs were fun. She should have kept them as bonus tracks.


Staff member
I think I finished the album feeling a bit sad, as dramatic as that sounds (but fitting for the artist I'm reviewing I suppose). I just don't understand why it seems like she wants to be compared to everyone she was already outrunning, even if she didn't have the numbers to back it up. I feel like that's the only reason we ended up with a collection like this.

I also find it funny that Cheatback is my favourite thing on here and I think it was the only song that was kept from the original version of the album, so it shows yet again how everything got sanded down and anonymized.

I'm assuming we'll get a new Chloe x Halle album next year, at which point it's going to have been 4 years since Ungodly Hour. And so I'm just left wondering and low-key mourning what might've been if we had gotten the follow-up a year or two later instead of Chloe having spent the past two years slowly losing herself as an artist.
It's a shame because, as @RainOnFire said, it would’ve been nice to get a timely follow-up to Ungodly Hour. With Halle's film career taking off, I understand that became impossible and Chloe had every right to…do something herself dd. It's just a bummer that the end result is so lacking, especially compared to their joint efforts.