Ungodly Hour is a bawdy, welcomingly weird, and fitting breakout for the immensely talented Chloe x Halle.
Sisters and R&B chanteuses, Chloe and Halle Bailey have kept it lowkey despite their entanglements with the Beyonce, ABC, and Disney brand (Oh, how these have all amalgamated into one!). The duet’s first album, The Kids Will Be Alright, scored them a couple of Grammy nominations and critical respect, but they remained firmly rooted on the precipice of breaking out without doing so. Fast forward to the release of lead single “Do It” from their second album, Ungodly Hour, a hedonistic girl’s night bop encouraging the ladies to leave their man at home for a night that’s “a homies only kind of mood.” Pairing trap beats with a dance-pop vibe, ethereal harmonies, and relaxed lyrics, “Do It” is nothing less than an emphatic addition to the getting-ready-for-a-night-out musical canon. Accompanied by a stylish, choreographed video and an overcrowded, star-studded rap girl remix, the track earned them their first Hot 100 entry, despite real-world conditions not conducive to the song’s pregaming spirit.
Their break-out couldn’t have happened in service of a cooler album. Ungodly Hour lives up to the promise of the best songs from their debut, delivering a straightforward, sleek polemic on fuckboys and players. In classic sophomore fashion, the sisters turn up the bawdiness, especially on “Tipsy,” a twangy, glitching, trappish oddity finding the sisters posing innocent after murdering the men who hurt them, warning the next: “If you love your little life then don’t fuck up.” The two reach to the future on the slippery, house-inspired title track, produced by Disclosure, that sounds of classy excess with a generous spirit. They also look backward, trying their hand at classic 2000s’ R&B sounds. In “Forgive Me” the sisters wear a guise of sardonic remorse as they leave their cheaters, projecting bravado over the track’s lustrous bass and punctuated with epic strings and vocalizations. Elsewhere, they soften up, especially on the more soulful “Don’t Make it Harder on Me” and “Wonder What She Thinks of Me.” Indeed, the album’s variance is one of its greatest tricks. With Ungodly Hour, Chloe x Halle delivers a sexy, refined product boasting just enough hints of weirdness to suggest an exciting, unique future.
Published as part of Pop Rocks | Q3 2020 Issue – Part 1.