Reviews

Chloe x Halle Are All Grown Up on Ungodly Hour

The unstoppable sister duo, Chloe x Halle, have released their third studio album titled Ungodly Hour. Chloe x Halle have had some pretty big career moments, from being mentored by Beyoncé herself and Halle’s upcoming role in Disney’s live-action Little Mermaid movie. Along with all of this, the excellence of Ungodly Hour has officially solidified the duo as a musical force to be reckoned with. It’s a reintroduction that challenges their previous sound — especially since it’s their first explicit project.

Their first two projects, The Two of Us and The Kids Are Alright, were successful in their own right, but Ungodly Hour has put them on the map in a new way. The girls are now 20 and 21 years old, meaning they are inclined to explore more mature topics and elevate their sound. This sense of newfound lyrical and sonical sophistication shines through in this LP. Chloe x Halle experimented with so many genres, sounds, and influences throughout Ungodly Hour; it’s the perfect conglomeration of R&B, trap, hip-hop and commercial pop.

The intro is less than 30 seconds long, but successfully highlights the signature heavenly vocal talent the sisters are known for. It also gives us a taste of the masterful production we’re about to experience throughout the album. The intro seamlessly transitions into the first full track, “Forgive Me,” which is also the newest single from the album. “Forgive Me” sets the tone for the album’s storyline and attitude. With intricate production and an addictive beat, Chloe x Halle sing about their self-worth and denounce those who have treated them wrong. The second track, “Baby Girl,” has a distinctive tropical-inspired beat that was produced by Chloe Bailey herself. It’s a female empowerment anthem that continues the self-love theme started in the first track.

The fourth track is “Do It,” a certified hit from pre-release and easily one of the best pop songs released in 2020 thus far. From going viral on TikTok to Chloe x Halle’s quarantine performances beautifully orchestrated in their own backyard, “Do It” is already making a colossal impact.

“Tipsy” is the non-single standout track of Ungodly Hour. It’s unlike anything on the radio and embraces a weird sound like no other. It’s also the most unique track on the album lyrically. Chloe x Halle playfully sing about threatening to kill men who play with their feelings. It’s a little dark, but from the vibe of the song, it’s obvious that it’s all in good fun.

“Ungodly Hour,” the album’s title track, lives up to, and even exceeds, expectations. The use of interesting vocal effects combined with another clean, addicting beat makes it extraordinary. Lyrically, it continues the theme of confidence and having high standards when it comes to relationships with standout lyrics like “I don’t have the time // To teach you how to love all over again.”

The next track, “Busy Boy,” is the follow up to “Tipsy” in terms of jaw-dropping lyrics and peculiar production. “Busy Boy” could be classified as a booty-call anthem. The lyrics make it clear that the girls are aware of the toxic situation, but are so attracted to this boy that they don’t care. It’s one of the most fun, more pop-influenced tracks on the album. The next track, “Catch Up,” features producer Mike WiLL Made-It and rapper Swae Lee. The collaboration has extremely high energy and incorporates elements of trap, pop and reggaeton.

From “Overwhelmed” until the end of the album, we hear a more vulnerable side of Chloe x Halle. “Overwhelmed” is a minute-long piano ballad interlude, signifying this theme change. The first full track in this section, “Lonely,” is basically the polar opposite of “Busy Boy.” The sister duo sings, “I know some nights you wait by your phone // I know you wish you had somebody to hold.” It shows the more honest side of a 3 A.M. text or call, the notion that everyone just wants to feel less alone. But, Chloe and Halle assure listeners that “It don’t have to be lonely being alone,” which furthers the self-love storyline.

While the first half of Ungodly Hour is about hookups and players, “Don’t Make It Harder on Me” and “Wonder What She Thinks of Me” are heart-wrenching admissions of deeper feelings. “Don’t Make It Harder on Me” is about moving on from an ex but staying friends and feeling yourself fall again. Chloe and Halle’s vocals are soft and beautiful, accompanied by cinematic ’90s inspired R&B production. “Wonder What She Thinks of Me” continues the specific storyline of having feelings for your friend. This track introduces angelic violins and vocals that belong in a Disney movie (sounds like Halle is practicing!). Even though the situation is complicated, they sing, “It’s never wrong when it feels right // I’ll hold you close and pretend you’re mine.”

The final track on Ungodly Hour acts as the last musical number in a romantic musical. “ROYL” presumably stands for “Rest of Your Life,” indicative from the choir-like exclamation of “Won’t you live tonight? (For the rest of your life)” throughout the chorus. This track is a hybrid of every topic discussed in the album, from self-love to daring choices in both love and life. It closes out the album perfectly, with an anthemic sound and lyrics like “Why you lookin’ in the mirror like that?” and “You’re the best they ever had.”

Out of Chloe x Halle’s three projects so far, Ungodly Hour is their essential album. It’s a storybook of vulnerability, confidence, and personality. From the vocals to the production, it takes their career and musicality to new heights. From start to finish, Ungodly Hour is an experience and will leave you feeling empowered and impressed by the unmatched talent of sisters Chloe and Halle Bailey.

Featured Image: Parkwood Entertainment LLC