Written by Reggie "Doc" Scott
In 2011, Chloe x Halle did what many young singers coming up do online and recorded a video of them singing a rendition of Beyoncé’s “Best Thing I Never Had.” Two years later, the sisters uploaded a video of them singing Bey’s just-released “Pretty Hurts,” which would change their lives forever after catching the attention of Mrs. Carter and signing them to her Parkwood Entertainment label. 2016 saw the then-sweet teens release their major-label debut EP with Sweet Symphony and have been growing right before our eyes ever since. The Bailey sisters released their GRAMMY-nominated debut album The Kids Are Alright in 2018, which was like a coming of age moment for them. Fast forward to 2020, Chloe and Halle are owning their young womanhood with the release of their sophomore album, Ungodly Hour (pushed back a week from the original June 5th release date to show solidarity with Black Lives Matter protests).
No, the title of the album isn’t in any relation to the current after hours strip club craze on Instagram Live, but more about the girls coming to terms with life, insecurities and other thoughts during the middle of the night. However, just like the title of show they star on, these girls have graduated from kids to “grown-ish.” That was a given from the album promo pictures and visual for the Scott Storch-produced lead single “Do It,” also co-penned by Victoria Monet.
Chloe and Halle, now 21 and 20, respectively, Ungodly Hour kicks off with a new attitude from them on “Forgive Me,” where they declare a lying good for nothing dude has them “f**ked up” and have moved on to better things. That message seems to be a theme for at least the first half of the thirteen-track album. “Tipsy” finds the girls having a Rihanna “Man Down” moment on a guy assuring if they’re not put first, there will be some consequences.
“Better, baby, better treat me better/Better than those other guys who change up like the weather, yeah/It is such a shame that they went missing, they can’t find ’em now/Oh, I wonder how I accidentally put them in the ground, yeah…” sings Chloe and Halle on their self-produced track with a matching thumping beat.
“Busy Boy” is another record with a hard slinky beat that has them calling out a guy that belongs to the streets and sending eggplant pics at 4 in the morning all while an IG post by his girlfriend reveals she’s having a baby! Interestingly enough, Detective Twitter are speculating that this song could be about Chloe’s still-unconfirmed relationship with grown-ish co-star and on-screen boyfriend Diggy Simmons. But the sister have something up their sleeves in a game of tit-for-tat on the summertime-ready “Catch Up” featuring Swae Lee and produced by Mike Will Made It.
Don’t let the new toughness of the ladies think their vulnerability isn’t still there. The album has an upbeat moment on the dreamy and bouncy album title cut produced by Disclosure. “Lonely” is another Scott Storch-produced chill number where Chloe and Halle assure that there can be nights where you feel like you need someone, but self love is important and as the chorus says, “it don’t have to be lonely being alone.”
“Don’t Make It Harder On Me” is an ode to 60s R&B á la Gladys Knight where the ladies are declaring they’re just friends with their failed partners yet those feelings come back time and time again that makes it hard to resist them. Followed up by “Wonder What She Thinks Of Me,” the stripped down moment of truth finds Chloe and Halle going back to an ex whose now in a relationship yet can’t deny the chemistry.
Ungodly Hour isn’t just rooted in love and bad relationships. Some moments found on their earlier EPs and The Kids Are Alright shows a glimpse that the sweet girls are still here. “Baby Girl” is an uplifting number for girls to realize when things aren’t going right, there’s a silver lining and can be vessel to inspire others. “ROYL,” an acronym for rest of your life, is an anthemic moment to close out the album reminiscent of “The Kids Are Alright” where the sisters are living their best life with nothing but good vibes and that you have a purpose in this world.
Although they have more production collaborators than their previous efforts, the spirit and the sound that Chloe and Halle created for themselves doesn’t get lost in the mix and truly a collaborative effort with producers like Mike Will, Boi-1da, Gitty and Sounwave, all while still producing or co-producing seven out of the thirteen tracks. With this album being their first carry a parental advisory label, them dropping a few “f bombs” here and there doesn’t feel forced yet sounds so beautifully said with their heavenly vocals they’ve become well known for. With their first album, it’s as if the sisters were still trying to find their footing while not concerned with mainstream numbers. But now with more and more people catching on to the creativity and presence of them (who didn’t try the #DotItChallenge viral on social media?), Chloe and Halle have truly made names for themselves and Ungodly Hour is a well-rounded album that’s honestly one of the best of this weird and crazy year called 2020 already.
Ungodly Hour is now available on streaming services and for purchasing at digital music retailers via Parkwood/Columbia Records.