Missy Bauman’s 2020 solo album Sweet begins with an intriguing mixed acapella track. But honestly, my heart went aflutter when I clicked on the second track. “H.I.M.” is about having your heart securely in the hands of someone else. It’s about being a little broken, too. The piano, though, wins the day on this one. The combination of intimate vocal and stunning piano work defines this album and is why you need to make it part of your life.
I could go on about “H.I.M.” but there’s not much more I know to say. It’s heartwrenchingly beautiful and will have you listening over and over. The piano is unbelievably rich in the mix, yet the vocal is still able to soar over the whole track. The lyrics are both relatable and clearly about a specific situation. Either way, the listener is invited into a diary-entry rich lyrical cavern, full of rich detail.
*TRIGGER WARNING: SEXUAL ASSAULT*
The track “Two sisters” might be the most harrowing account of sexual assault I’ve ever encountered in media. You can feel the sadness dripping from Bauman’s voice. The intimacy and the violation thereof is incredibly poignant. “Is there another word for ‘no’ that I just don’t know?” The details in this song are not ones that I can type. You should just listen to this. And have tissues because it will probably make you cry. Also, believe victims. Support victims.
The following “Why do we fight” is another engaging acoustic song with Bauman’s rich, rewarding vocals shining through. The cathartic opening instrumental section serves as a sweet transition from the depth of the previous song. The 6/8 time and the gentle sway of the composition is soothing in and of itself. When Bauman sings the track swells with a gorgeous sentimentality, despite being about the emotional strife of fighting with a loved one.
“No More Love” is about not writing love songs. It’s cute, honestly, and is clearly… a love song. This might be the most singularly charming song on the album. It’s in the Dodie Clark and Tessa Violet vein. The track “Garter Belt” follows it with a bluesy, acoustic mood. Yet again the mix is amazing, allowing the vocal to take center stage. The lyrics focus on being exposed in a variety of ways. It’s incredibly intimate and will certainly connect with a number of listeners.
The next track is named for an iconic songwriter in “Lana Del Rey.” The guitar is sparing in the mix with the vocal expressing almost a spoken word quality. As the guitar picks up, there’s almost an Americana vibe to the track. There’s an effect on the vocal that sounds like autotune and layering. It’s one of the most unique tracks on the album. The penultimate track “I’ll be better” is like a letter to a friend. It’s a promise to be “better” in a number of different categories. The chord selection on this one is simply gorgeous. The duo vocal works perfectly with the intimate style. It’s one of the most relatable songs on the album that invites others into Bauman’s narrative. The piano (as I seem to say about all of these songs) is simply outstanding.
The final track “Infinite Everything” is wonderfully rich in the acoustic guitar and, again, Bauman’s beautiful vocals. The lyrics focus on an intimate moment for a couple. It’s another track that does an amazing job of addressing what are far too often unaddressed topics. The intimacy is palpable. Quiet your spirit and listen to this one.
I don’t have any final critic thoughts on this album, really. Listening to this album is sure to make some folks feel extremely powerful emotions. But I fundamentally believe in using the platform of EarToTheGround to amplify exactly these voices. Bauman’s voice is stunning and her lyrics are of dire significance. If you are a fan of acoustic folk music, you should know about this artist and this album. As a human being, though, it would be prudent to wrestle with the sentiments and emotions expressed here.