Nashville singer-songwriter and producer carobae, aka Caroline Baker, unveils her debut album, scared to go to sleep, via too drunk for a tuesday Records.
Speaking about the album, carobae says, “In the past year, I’ve dealt with a lot of self-isolation, shame, and intrusive thoughts due to my struggles in developing a relationship with the internet. For me, writing ‘scared to go to sleep’ was my way of coming to terms with everything going on inside my head. When I first had the idea, I was lying in bed, wide awake in the middle of the night jotting down everything that popped into my brain that was keeping me from sleeping. In that moment, I realized I maybe didn’t even want to sleep because I was so scared of facing myself once I did.”
scared to go to sleep features songs written and produced exclusively by carobae, along with tracks co-written and co-produced with Brandon Shoop, Sean Kennedy, Lauren Mandel, Raziel, and Megan Redmond.
2019 saw carobae begin releasing music, including her debut EP, songs from 3am, followed by 2020’s The Longest Year: Part One, and 2021’s The Longest Year: Part Two, both collecting shining reviews from elite media outlets.
With more than 40,000,000 streams on Spotify, carobae’s music has been featured on many playlists, including New Music Friday, Fresh Finds, Fresh & Chill, and Indie Pop, as well as multiple features on Apple Music and Amazon Music.
Encompassing a dozen tracks, the album begins with “dead ends/happy endings,” which rolls out on an acoustic guitar topped by carobae’s angst-filled vocals.
Speaking subjectively, entry points include the alt-rock-flavored “6 feet under,” vaguely reminiscent of Liz Phair, only stripped down and rawer. Simultaneously nuanced and expressive, carobae’s upmarket voice imbues the lyrics with wistful savors.
“stab my back” ebbs and rises on low-slung shimmering tones, followed by ramping up to potent, almost jangly-colored guitars, as carobae’s yummy voice conveys the pain of betrayal, while “naked in a crowd” merges aromas of Liz Phair with hints of Avril Lavigne, producing a scrummy tune surging with spellbinding, heavy guitar textures.
Tangs of alt-rock mingled with tints of pop-punk give the title track alluring leitmotifs, starting off subdued and slowly building as carobae’s alt-dot voice imbues the lyrics with luxurious, husky timbres.
“life is full of choices / when it’s not the one that you just made / then you’re left to thinking / if you use your heart or fucking brain / if you made a mistake / if shit’s supposed to be that way / these are the things i think of / when i’m scared to go to sleep.”
A personal favorite, “silver line” ties the album off with grand style, traveling on thick guitars and luminous accents. Almost soft, carobae’s vocals invest the lyrics with bravura tones, finessed with velvety sonic filaments.
At once polished and zeroing in on an alt-rock-with-smidgens-of-pop sweet spot, scared to go to sleep is buff and tastefully wrought.