In the wake of her sister act Chloe x Halle's early-2010s breakthrough, Chloe Bailey saw the world from pop's highest reaches—touring with Beyoncé, racking up Grammy nominations, performing at the Super Bowl. But there are other rites of passage that she missed out on by being a young R&B star. “I was homeschooled for high school, so all the experiences—falling in love, falling out of love, breaking up, making up, all of that—I'm going through it now,” Chlöe told her onetime collaborator Latto on Apple Music radio. “It's really been motivating the lyrics. When I'm angry, instead of crying or wanting to throw things, I just sit there and I write.” That raw emotion, sung into existence by Chlöe's versatile, strong voice, gives her solo debut In Pieces a strong backbone as it whirls through styles and collaborators. Chlöe's unquenchable musical curiosity is on full display, whether on the straight-up torch song title track, the gospel-trap parable about being the better person in a breakup's aftermath “Pray It Away,” or the regret-wracked, Dionne Warwick-sampling Chris Brown duet “How Does It Feel.” Throughout, her innate knowledge of unexpectedly plush vocal harmonies—a staple of her records with her sister—gives even the more straightforward tracks sonic depth. While much of In Pieces deals with the tribulations of bad relationships, it also possesses a determined liberation, with Chlöe fully in control of expressing herself her way. The popped-bubbly beat of “Body Do” belies its lyrics, which open with Chlöe sighing “I'm so tired” and detail why she can't “trust you as far as I throw you”; it glides along as Chlöe sings of being world-weary. “Make It Look Easy” opens as a swirling ballad punctuated by snapped fingers; as Chlöe pours her heart out about her insecurities, the music surrounding her gathers into a storm of synth horns and urgent drums. “Told Ya,” a collaboration with Missy Elliott, is another standout, Chlöe flaunting her MC skills—no mean feat when matched up with one of hip-hop's most legendary features—over a sparse beat that, at the end, blossoms into drowsy synth-soul, Chlöe spreading her wings before reminding her wrongdoer once again that she's “a soldier.” Another highlight is “Cheatback,” an acoustic-guitar-led cut where Chlöe throws down a gauntlet to an unfaithful lover played by the soul-baring Atlanta MC Future; her ultimatums are undaunted by his apologies, and the way her voice increases in intensity as the song goes on communicates how (rightfully) incensed she is at her trust being betrayed. “Maybe then, baby, you'll know how to act,” she spits out on the chorus, seemingly thrilling at the prospect of combining revenge and a teachable moment. Chlöe may be learning about life in public, but In Pieces shows her harnessing talents that can't be taught.