Chloe x Halle
The R&B sisters increase their production and writing risks on the slinky follow-up to their freewheeling debut.
The Bailey sisters have been busy in the two years since Chloe x Halle launched their joyful coming-of-age debut The Kids Are Alright. They performed at the Super Bowl, opened for JAY-Z and Beyoncé’s joint tour, starred in three seasons of the sitcom Grown-ish, had two Grammy nominations, and Halle was recently announced as Princess Ariel in Disney’s upcoming live-action The Little Mermaid. The Atlanta duo also managed to create, perform, and contribute to the production of their second album, Ungodly Hour, in their spare time.
discuss sex, make foolish decisions when intoxicated, and deal with the fallout from unsolicited dick pictures. In other words, they want to appear to be somewhat typical twenty-somethings, which was a challenge on their debut record when they were preserving their spotless reputations. But now they’re over it: On ‘Busy Boy’, the duo sing with a rhythm reminiscent of Destiny’s Child, each lyric delivered with an apparent smile, ‘It’s four o’clock/You sendin’ me too many images of your…(oh). However, Chloe x Halle shed their innocence with grace, as they do with everything else, so this isn’t the album equivalent of former teen stars making scandalous headlines.
The tracks by Chloe x Halle when the sisters are most active tend to be the best. With its warm, danceable Chloe production that is evocative of a Kelela record, “Baby Girl” stands out right away. The duo’s perfect blending of rapping and singing on “Tipsy,” elevated by Chloe’s throbbing melody, should make their mentor, Beyoncé, happy.
Despite spending their entire lives in the entertainment industry, Chloe and Halle are not your typical child stars. Instead of releasing tween-friendly chart-bait songs, they instead developed a style of refined and exquisite R&B that is difficult to classify as juvenilia. The duo continues in similar vein on their second album, fusing lavish harmonies with complex rhythms. The pair avoids large choruses and obvious melodies in service to their flawless elegance and class, and they show restraint when veering from their characteristic sound.
Ungodly Hour’s draw lies in the detail, not only in the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it strangeness – Busy Boy briefly opens with tremulous blues that could have been recorded in the 1930s, while the highly entertaining Tipsy mixes casually threatening lyrics with curious percussion sounds – but also in the slow-burn appeal of the pair’s vocal melodies, which are routinely inventive, ornate, and hauntingly beautiful.
Stream Ungodly Hour by Chloe X Halle and let us know your thoughts
Chloe X Halle’s Ungodly Hour Tracklist
|8.||“Catch Up” (with Swae Leefeaturing Mike Will Made-It)||
|11.||“Don’t Make It Harder on Me”||
|12.||“Wonder What She Thinks of Me”||
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