Kicking off 2024 in style, American indie-pop singer-songwriter Molly Baker brought out 'One Year' - and it's a pointed, yet stylishly subtle jibe at a former love that neglected her. While there's elements of hurt and this tense feel of betrayal, Baker brings this back brilliantly with a cyclic nature that looks ahead to better times in light of the old.
Kicking off her well-told story, the scene is set at "New Year's Eve open mic" where Baker's narrative is on a date. The character across from her is a determined, future Ivy League type with CEO aspirations. However, Baker sees through this facade of status already as she's 'just sitting here, wondering how much I'll change in one year'. It's nervy, and there's space for personal growth, yet the way that growth arrives is through trauma of a lost love as we find out.
Baker employs subtle reverb on her guitar, whilst the lyrics' delivery are direct and clear. This, in itself, is almost a reflection of how time can simply fly past and underlining negatives in the relationship can get blurred in the hubbub of adolescent life. Baker charts this year of decline with clever word play and intricacies that note how by the months, her partner is drifting further away despite however hard she tries. For example, "Spring break, April showers, by May we turned sour, I don't even know what I did".
These timely descriptions lead to a shift in the song, as much as in the relationship, and towards the final third Baker morphs into this new person. At first she seems to lament this boyfriend gone astray, yet she then uses his dismissal to her strength. There's layered harmonies, dramatic delivery and easily-listenable tones, as Baker fights through the self-doubt to put this rejection to the back of her mind. Once this is done, we hear of a girl uninhibited by this burden. After the pair fizzle out, Baker's character's growth is clear on return to school: "Back to school with a tan on my wrist, unbraided your bracelet, my favourite gift."
On reflection, in this part it seems that while the boy was "Ivy League" and a future CEO, he was perhaps controlling in nature. Molly has found new freedom, and in doing so, has shone a light on the negatives that were perhaps lost in rose tinted glasses. She wears what she wants and listens to music she likes: Into a homecoming dress you would hate, Blasting top 40, I dance unashamed" - this is where things change for the better, as Molly finds a new date who likes her for these re-established traits that a dismissive partner had subdued. In a beautiful, cyclic nature - Baker ends the track in the same spot where the CEO-type was met, trading this figure for a genuine connection. "Right there in the front row, sure he's no CEO. But he knows how to show up on time." It's damning and weighty, and would be even more so if based on a true story - yet Molly Baker ensured the press that this is just a character amidst a tightly run creative ship:
"Where do I begin? My new song 'One Year' has literally taken a year to come together. I worked with my original producer but did not feel like the production was up to my standards, so I had to completely redo the entire song with a brand new producer. I wrote the lyrics with my top liner over a year ago and we knew that this song was going to be special. "It completely encompasses a full year in the life of the character and the ups and downs of a relationship with a friend. This is the best song that I have been involved with and I really hope that you enjoy it!"
Special, it truly was. Cleverly done, well written and extremely smooth listening, Baker has another strong addition to her songwriting arsenal. At the time of writing, Baker has nearly 4,000 avid monthly listeners on Spotfiy. With some already big songs like 2021's 'Lightning In A Bottle' (65,000 listens) and the same year's 'Go With The Flow' (166,000 listens) it's clear that Baker has the knack for making likeable tracks with engaging narratives. Even without being a particular buff of her sphere of sound, it's intriguing and somewhat noticeable where her inspirations lie.
"I love creating and listening to pop, indie, and alternative music. Some of my favourite artists that inspire my songs are Stevie Nicks, Olivia Rodrigo, Gracie Abrams, and Taylor Swift."