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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

‘In Pieces’ is here in all its fractured glory

Chloë enraptures listeners in her debut heartbreak album, “In Pieces.”
Parkwood Entertainment and Columbia Records
The album cover for “In Pieces,” featuring a porcelain-like rendition of Chloë in a white gown holding a heart. (Photo courtesy of Parkwood Entertainment and Columbia Records)

A particular Friday night release left Music City just a bit richer — Chloë Bailey of the Chloe x Halle sister duo released her freshman album titled, “In Pieces.” Despite the project battling delays and confusion with its marketed singles, the album was finally released, sporting 14 tracks. As Chloë’s first solo album, it certainly carried a different sound than “Ungodly Hour,” the sophomore album that she released with her sister, Halle Bailey. 

There is an astounding amount about this album to admire — from Chloë’s consistently mesmerizing vocal range and production talents to the visuals associated with the project and the feelings each track evokes. However, one of the main pitfalls the album suffers from is Summer Walker syndrome: the songs are short, almost painfully so. I left each song wishing that it had been just a little bit longer, but that is certainly a good problem to have. Busy as we all are, losing yourself to the album for the entire 37 minutes and 20 seconds will be a refreshing pause from the cyclic nature of Vanderbilt student life. Read on for a track-by-track breakdown of the album. 

“Someone’s Calling (Chloë)”

The song features high-pitched trumpet solos paired with layered, low-pitched vocals where Bailey croons “Chloë, someone’s calling,” among other lyrics. Despite the foreboding feel of the track, it is almost, perhaps ironically, reminiscent of a Christmas song with its operatic background vocalists. The vocal layering is immaculate, and the song is, overall, a very intriguing way to begin the album. 

“Pray It Away”

“Pray It Away” has the most replay value of the entire album. This song is a more lyrical, upbeat R&B take that is housed comfortably in the soul genre. The high notes and Chloë’s whistle tones compliment the smoother lower ranges almost too well. It’s easy to trap yourself into listening again and again and end up turning that 37-minute and 20-second, album-length study break into a longer one. I will say that Chloë’s emotion doesn’t feel as palpable on this tune; however, the song makes up for this entirely with its rhythm. 

“Body Do”

“Body Do” is a change of pace from the slower tones that the album starts out with. The song feels more like house music, a genre that wasn’t really revisited in any meaningful capacity throughout the rest of the album. I didn’t love the production of this piece either. The song is too fast-paced and takes off running in a jarring way. Song order in an album is an extremely important element for an optimal listening experience, and having this song third changed the pace of the album pretty early on; it certainly would have benefited from coming later. 

“I Don’t Mind” 

This track is surprisingly refreshing and opens with guitar influences in the background while featuring more of Chloë’s upper range. It’s front-loaded with powdery, whispery vocals and oscillations. The tune is catchy but does feature a bit more autotune than feels necessary. Although I liked a lot about this song, I will say that the lyricism fell a little flat for me and was disappointingly surface-level. 


What can I say about “Worried”? Unfortunately, the lyricism doesn’t pick up the momentum in this track either; this is another song where I felt like the chorus fell a little flat. However, the song certainly isn’t boring by any means. The background is harp-influenced and smooth, and the production is not particularly loud or obnoxious. The lyrics (and their delivery) are purposefully choppy and staccato without feeling rushed or too fast-paced. 

Fallin 4 U” 

At a quick 52 seconds, “Fallin 4 U” features roughly 20 seconds of singing before breaking into speaking. The song does well in changing the tone of the album to one that’s more vengeful. 

“How Does it Feel” ft. Chris Brown

“How Does It Feel” is the highly controversial collaboration that Chloë released as a single in February 2023 with Chris Brown. Chris Brown wasn’t a bad addition to this song, but Chloë’s vocals could have held their own. The song wasn’t a standout to me but does feature satiny vocals and lyrics that perfectly encapsulate the experience of pining after someone. 

“Feel Me Cry”

The rhythm of this song can only be described as a “head bopper.” It’s very smooth and even; the lyrics are simple and a little too easy to relate to. Chloë croons “I can’t hold it inside, I want you to feel me cry” over polished background vocals that accentuate the prominent message. The song has some experimental sounds that caught me by surprise, but by the very end, the song concludes similarly to its beginning, and that familiarity between the opening and closing sounds provides the very sense of comfort that Chloë laments in the chorus. 

“Make It Look Easy”

I found the emotion I was looking for in this song. This is the first song in which I felt Chloë express her feelings; her delivery was intertwined with inklings of pain and her voice reverberated the guttural emotions that underline the entire project. I loved the orchestral production toward the end of the song, which was a great way to culminate the vocal highs and emotional lows of the melody. 

“Looze U” 

As one of the longest songs on the album, this is one of the few that does not suffer from a conspicuous bout of Summer Walker syndrome. The runtime was more than enough for me to get my fill, and I was grateful for it. The song is rhythmic but is another where I felt that the lyrics were somewhat juvenile. Some listeners appreciate when lyricism is unveiled, while others prefer when wording is artistically conveyed. I see the merits in both, but I can’t lie that I prefer the latter. This song did not quite provide what I was hoping for in that regard but was still a satisfying listen. 

“Told Ya” ft. Missy Elliott

Missy Elliott’s name probably gives you a decent idea of what rhythm this song — one of the few on the album with a feature — harbors: upbeat pop with scat background vocals and ad-libs. Missy’s lines are sweet and succinct, only adding to the song’s liveliness. The song is a shoo-in for TikTok content (and dances) and it’s in a good place in the album, keeping the atmosphere lively at this point in the line-up. 

Cheatback” ft. Future

A good feature should only elevate a song. My personal opinion is that a feature hasn’t served its purpose if I walk away wondering what the song would sound like without the added vocalist, and this is one of those cases. The song had all the energy and emotion of a heartbreak country hit. Chloë found her home in her lower register for most of the song, cruising along with a guitar melody. Unfortunately, Future’s lines felt foreign and practically unnecessary. At just a few points, Chloë’s and Future’s autotune took me out of the listening experience, but for the majority of the song I felt sustained emotion. 

“Heart On My Sleeve” 

“Heart On My Sleeve” is definitely one of my favorite slow tracks on the album, but it being just under a minute left me feeling blessed, yet unsatisfied. This is another track where Chloë’s emotion is tangible. The shredding lyrics are paired with airy whistle tones, a nice touch before the final song of the album. 

“In Pieces” 

As the title song, this tune had a lot riding on it —  thankfully, it lived up to expectations. You get vocals, you get feeling, you get pure piano. You get whisper-light vocal framing and layering that highlight the most important moments and lyrics. Yes, it leaves the album on a low note, but considering that “In Pieces” is a heartbreak album at its root, that should be expected. All that you can ask for is that the low moments are executed well, and this culminating song does not disappoint. 

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About the Contributor
Oghosa Omobude
Oghosa Omobude, Life Copy Editor
Oghosa Omobude ('24) is from Atlanta (kinda), Ga. and is a student in the College of Arts and Science. Although currently majoring in biological sciences with aspirations for medical school, she has interests outside of STEM that include fine arts, writing and DIY projects. She can be reached at [email protected].
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