“Kiss Me More” by Bailey Flores

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Comprised of nothing more than a brooding piano part and a dynamic lead vocal that could have brought me to my knees without any instrumental componentry beside it, Bailey Flores’ cover of Doja Cat’s smash “Kiss Me More” might be one of the few aesthetically reimagined covers I’ve heard all year long. From one angle, she’s putting something fresh into the narrative here that is romantic and heartfelt, while on the other she’s demonstrating a creative versatility that has been discussed among critics for the better part of the last year – mostly due to its absence from the mainstream.

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This is a situation where the artist and the material are multi-interpretive no matter how you break down the content at hand, but one thing is for certain; if you come into “Kiss Me More” expecting a run-of-the-mill pop cover, you’re going to be blown away by what it actually consists of. Rather than dressing up elaborate elegance with something even more stimulating, Flores is stripping away every adornment from this arrangement and giving us the straight emotions in “Kiss Me More” like no other artist to have played it has to date.

This lead vocal is unrestrained but made to carry a lot, but considering the lack of percussion in this single, it does a fine job of setting forth a gripping pace without the help of any drums or other physical elements in the music. The piano is the only instrument that could have worked for the tempo and the tone of this cover, and I like that Flores didn’t see the need to dress it up with a fleeting bassline or even jazz-inspired breathiness from some percussive entity or another on the backend.

A lot of her rivals would have toyed with a retro finish for the harmonies, but she keeps it in this century and ironically winds up producing something that sounds just a bit more timeless as a result. There’s so much more passion in her voice than I would ever anticipate getting out of something she didn’t write herself, and I suppose this authenticates just how much potential she’s been purported to have by followers and industry onlookers the same.

Delicate in shape and execution but not lacking a certain degree of decadence to make it as surreal as it is searing, Bailey Flores’ “Kiss Me More” gave me chills the first time I listened to it and hasn’t stopped since. It seems like every month there’s a new TikTok star we’re supposed to care about in pop music, but this songwriter has such a humble disposition that it’s easy to appreciate the rarity of her attitude and her artistic abilities in the sea of talent her platform of choice plays host to.

Her immense versatility doesn’t remain limited to one aspect of her skillset but instead spreads across her whole arsenal of creative weapons, which is going to make the first proper album she releases quite the interesting listen for anyone who has a discriminating taste in quality pop.

Jodi Marxbury

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