Chloe x Halle have unleashed their second studio album Ungodly Hour. The album sees the sisters step it up once again with an impressive list of collaborators that includes Swae Lee, Scott Storch, Mike Will Made-It, Disclosure and more. These two have an unimaginable amount of potential and we’re excited to get stuck into this one.
Straight to it with the harmonies. Chloe and Halle have some of the best-matched vocals in the game and they’re taking us right back to Destiny Fulfilled with this ethereal beginning.
The intro rolls straight into Forgive Me which may be the darkest cut we’ve ever heard from them. Sounwave and Jake One are on production here and they lay down a glossy, unshakeable beat while Chloe and Halle give us hard vocals. Forgive Me feels so decadent and grandiose making an excellent start to the album.
We already know this one is going to end up on Insecure. It’s got that paper-thin, West Coast vibe with Chloe and Halle absolutely bodying the minimal beat. It’s dripping with an effortless cool as they use the harmonies to create rise-and-fall in the song. “Do it for the girls all around the world,” they sing in the chorus.
Do It is the album’s biggest single and it’s got the same sort of West Coast vibe as Baby Girl. It’s slick-as-hell, rolling along with ease. The vocals are crystal clear and the beat flies along on a cloud of glassy beats and windy synths. Despite its softness, Chloe and Halle manage to make a club-ready hook out of it.
There are some big-name producers on this record but can we just shout out Chloe who is bringing some of the best beats of the set. She’s the sole producer on this one and she brings a dizzying soundscape to the table. Everything about this song drips with charisma from the woozy vocals to lyrics like, “I wonder how I accidentally put them in the ground.” The growth on this album is very evident at this stage. They’ve grown up and while you can hear the maturity, you can also hear the confidence which leads to fun moments like this one.
Production credits on songs by Khalid and Mac Miller have made Disclosure fast-rising producers in the R&B/hip-hop world. The British brothers come through here with a slick, slow-moving beat for the album’s title track. It’s the perfect compliment to Chloe and Halle’s rich vocals which are delivered almost entirely in harmony here. This chorus throws it back to ’90s/early ’00s R&B hard with one of the tightest hooks so far.
There are TLC and Brandy influences all over this record but they’re never more present than on Busy Boy. It’s a ball-busting, ice-cold cut that has the girls out for the kill. They’re onto a cheater on this one and they’re out looking for receipts. The “busy, busy boy” hook is one of the most accessible on the whole record. We’d be surprised if this one isn’t a crowd favourite.
Catch Up (Feat. Swae Lee & Mike Will Made-It)
Interestingly, the first single from the album may also be one of the weakest on the record. We love a Swae Lee hook but the girls are capable of carrying the whole thing themselves and this one feels like a distraction from the effortless flow of the rest of the record. That said, on its own, this is a jam.
Back to those ethereal vocals with a short interlude. This is an effortless palette cleanser with the best harmonies of the entire album. The way it rises at the end is nothing short of heavenly.
The most pop-leaning song on the album is another winner. Scott Storch lays down beat-heavy, late-night production as Chloe and Halle give one of the strongest melodic performances of their career. “I have to learn to love me lately,” they sing, continuing, “It don’t have to be lonely being alone.” Self love is such a present motif on this album but it’s delivered in so many ways from braggadocious confidence to quiet self-reflection.
Don’t Make It Harder On Me
You know we were waiting for that ballad so we could bath in the vocals and it’s finally here. Don’t Make It Harder On Me is a straight-up soul moment and the vocals are well and truly served. The heady vocals in the bridge are sublime while the whole song is full of little vocal treats that will send shivers down your back.
Wonder What She Thinks Of Me
Wonder What She Thinks Of Me trades in Erykah Badu and Janelle Monáe-leaning neo-soul. It’s a whimsical, winding journey that offers some of the most narrative-driven songwriting on the album. She’s the ‘other girl’ on this one and the perspective, considering the opinion of the main girl is delivered with nuance. This is the kind of mature songwriting that they just couldn’t have given in the past. Ungodly Hour is such a step-up.
We’re ending the album on a celebratory note. ROYL features a grandiose beat and boisterous vocal work from Chloe and Halle. They’ve given so many different sides on this album and this feels like an appropriately triumphant finale. It’s a well-earned victory lap. This album is a smash.
Chloe and Halle have always had potential but they’ve never really been leading the conversation in R&B. Well, that’s about to change. Ungodly Hour tips its hat to those that have come before them from TLC to Monáe but also forges their own path. There’s so much room for harmony-driven R&B and this album is filling that space. It’s a celestial, masterful project that shows Chloe and Halle really have grown.