Photo Credit: Robin Harper
Chloe x Halle released their third studio album titled Ungodly Hour on June 12th. The sisters start off by vocalizing a beautiful harmonic intro and go right into their Destiny’s Child-like sound while also meeting modern day R&B. On the second track “Forgive Me”, we hear those early 2000s inspired R&B beats, but you can tell right away it’s a newer and more unique sound. The song speaks on being happy rather than beating yourself up over a breakup with an unfaithful partner, and not letting them control you anymore: “So forgive me, forgive me // I been goin’ too hard in your city // So forgive me ’cause I’m not teary // Best believe I’ll move onto better thing.” Right off, Beyoncé’s involvement with Chloe x Halle shows (she has been their musical mentor since the start of their career). The lyrics are very Lemonade-esque and encouraging. “Baby Girl” continues the topic of women empowerment with it’s slow yet upbeat melody: “Do it for the girls / All around the world.”
Their first single, “Do It”, shows the sisters’ admiration for their musical mentor. The line “I look like bae” was meant to sound like “Bey”, as in Beyoncé. “Do It” has that R&B sound to it too, also similar to Mary J. Blige’s “No drama”. Even in “Tipsy”, a song about how their men makes them feel, you can feel the confidence the sisters radiate: “If you love your little life, then don’t f*ck up.” The single, “Catch Up”, features Mike Will Made-It. This song is the second most popular track by Chloe x Halle, following “Do It”. It tells a story of a complicated relationship and double standards. He’s upset when she acts the same way towards him as he does towards her.
For Chloe x Halle’s song “Ungodly Hour”, the electronic duo Disclosure worked as producers. Guy and Howard Lawrence, members of the band, are brothers, just like Chloe and Halle are sisters, making them an interesting collaboration. We clearly hear the influence of electronic music in the song. Wanting just a “normal” love rather than playing games, they sing: “When you’re done, call my name.” This track is followed by “Busy Boy”, a song about a player type who can’t get enough of women. The composition really sounds like it could be a Destiny’s Child song. Here, Chloe x Halle sound like grown women, more open about having sexual relations, and doing so without being raunchy.
The mid-album interlude is a gentle acoustic song titled “Overwhelmed”, which sounds more like poetry sung in harmony over a piano. It takes us to the contrast upbeat track “Lonely”, a beautiful song pointing out that being alone doesn’t have to be lonely. We have to learn to be with ourselves and with our own thoughts, rather than distracting ourselves through being with someone else. “Don’t Make It Harder On Me” is about a guy missing his chance with a girl and it being too late to reconcile because she’s already moved on with someone else. A lot of us have experienced this kind of relationship where the breakup was unavoidable, but feelings were still there: “Why did we stop bein’ together now? // Oh, I just remembered // How many girls you had.”
The follow up track “Wonder What She Thinks of Me”, is about a man that has already moved on, but the couple haven’t let each other go and are still spending time together, both as friends and romantically. The connection between them is complex, since both are in relationships with other people: “I wonder what she thinks of me // When she sees my name on your phone screen // You drop everything just for me.”
The final song on the album is “ROYL” (Rest Of Your Life). When describing the song on Apple Music, Chloe says, “With this song, we just wanted to wrap this album up by saying, “It doesn’t matter what mistakes you make, just live your life, go for it, have fun.” Overall, the album contains harmonies and classic R&B vibes mixed with familiar beats, some songs sound like they could be from 2003, while others are very modern sounding. As mentioned previously, Beyoncé’s influence is felt greatly throughout. Chloe x Halle touch on the complexity of relationships, “girl power”, and how it’s okay to make mistakes along the way while staying true to yourself. For the sisters, this album feels like a step up from their previous work, giving off a sense of maturity, growth and confidence.