Nothing can make a national lockdown due to a global pandemic seem tolerable than heavenly voices backed by futuristic, R&B-Funk fusion instrumentals that will simultaneously make you cry a river while making you feel like you can conquer the world.
Sister duo Chloe x Halle are making a name for themselves in the music industry, and rightfully so, with their sophomore album Ungodly Hour. Since its release in June, the 13-track studio album gives insight into the minds of young black women who have already found themselves, but now are trying to make a mark in the world without losing themselves.
The album’s two heavy-hitters are “Forgive Me” and “Do It” as both are stand out tracks that could easily be queued for playlists at a party or on the way to the party (of course, when Covid-19 is over; please practice social distancing). The former starts the album off with a clear message of not apologizing for their ambition and their lack of waiting around, while the latter reminiscences on having a fun time getting ready for a night out with their friends. Both tracks have a trap-pop sound that flows smoothly underneath the Grammy-nominated pair’s vocals.
“Ungodly Hour”, the album’s title track, encompasses every element that the album has to offer. It has a dance club feel that incorporates a futuristic synth loop mixed with classic R&B drums. Chloe x Halle lay angelic harmonies onto the track with lyrics of needing a companion that is willing to stick with them even throughout the bad parts, which they refer to as “Love me at the ungodly hour”.
The hidden gem of the album is “Lonely”. The song is one that tries to uplift someone who is stuck in a tough situation. It explores how some of the hardest circumstances are those that you have to face alone. As the sisters’ soothing vocals seem to fill the room, they are backed by a track that reminds listeners of a few Janet Jackson classics. Their understanding of “I know you wish you had somebody to hold/ It don’t have to be lonely being alone” creates a mantra of finding appreciation for yourself in quiet times.
A deep Jazz bass sound with light, airy vocals delivers “Don’t Make It Harder on Me” to listeners. It narrates the struggle of making a loved one someone of the past. The track also features a strings arrangement in the bridge that livens the song and flows into a strong 808 beat to close out.
“Baby Girl” is the album’s ultimate self-empowerment song as it journeys through how to deal with the pressures of society. It goes into how even though it would be easier to succumb to the world’s negativity, you have to find a way to overcome it. The song also brings to light how for many people (especially women and/or people of color) surrendering to the world’s ways can often not only demean them but those who come after them.
Overall, Ungodly Hour beautifully threads a story about the highs and lows of a person trying to not lose themselves to love, the world, and self-hatred. This project has a hit in every track with even the interludes such as “Overwhelmed” making you really take the time to reevaluate the outlook that you have on yourself and whether it is one that is beneficial or detrimental.
The only song that does not exactly live up to the rest of the album is “Catch Up” (Feat. Mike WiLL Made-it & Swae Lee). Being that it is the only track to feature another artist, I expected a lot out of the song. However, it feels out of place among the other tracks. Swae Lee’s verse did not add very much to the song, and honestly could have been left off.
Nevertheless, this project is one that has made waves in R&B. Its lyricism and production has ensured that Chloe x Halle are to be seen as staples in this new generation of artists.