REVIEW: Bailey Flores — “Kiss Me More” (SINGLE)
The best cover songs you’ll ever hear in this life are those that present us with a new identity rather than a different incarnation of the one the composition wore with its original performer, and I think that the new cut of “Kiss Me More” by Bailey Flores qualifies as a winner in this regard. Doja Cat’s presence in melodic hip-hop and pop has been impossible to debate over the last few years, but in this version of one of her more popular songs, we’re taken in an entirely different emotional trajectory than even its core lyrics would support — all without changing a single element of its construction.
These verses don’t sound like they belong to someone else, but instead Flores herself, as they’re drawn together to feel more like the scattered passing thoughts of an introspective young woman rather than the affirming statements they are under the command of Doja Cat. This is a different speed, a different sonic backdrop as well, but it’s not so far removed from the foundations of the original as to leave us wondering what we’re listening to — there’s still plenty of the creator’s spirit here. It’s employed as a way of giving this singer an even more original tone, which epitomizes pop irony in every way to me.
The piano part has a couple of brittle moments that sound as though they could collapse under the pressure inflicted by the vocal closer to the more climactic moments in “Kiss Me More,” but they’re here to reflect the sincerity of Flores’ lyricism first and foremost. She isn’t playing with frills in this performance by any measurement, but instead elements that do something to expand upon the passion she presents and further alludes to in this piece. It’s hard to make a cover feel this true, but if there’s a good example for young players to follow in doing so, this is it.
This “Kiss Me More” sports a harmony that seems to be intentionally disjointed in a few spots, and this too humanizes every verse more than they already would have been. Details are something that often get overlooked when trying to make something poppy, fun, and familiar, but this clearly isn’t an artist who can contend with the marginalized communication that comes as a result of streamlined recording. Songcraft is important to Flores whether dropping a cover or an original single, and that’s not something I can say about her competition nowadays.
I’ve heard nothing but high-quality output from Bailey Flores since she first came to my attention in the music world with 2020’s “Savory” and “Grave Dancer,” and this take on “Kiss Me More” lives up to its discography predecessors brilliantly. There’s still some raw intensity to her vocal here, but it’s most definitely getting more refined with each performance she gives us from within the four walls of a recording studio. She was made for this kind of a setting and were this not the case I don’t believe she would be having the success with audiences she is this summer.