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Chloe x Halle | Ungodly Hour

The sister act's vocals are still heavenly. Wish I could say the same for the songs.

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Kids. They grow up so fast. Especially these days. And that goes double for pop stars. Atlanta sisters Chloe and Halle Bailey are barely in their 20s, but they’re already old pros. So it’s no surprise they’re coming off more mature and worldly on their sophomore album Ungodly Hour (the followup to their 2018’s aptly named The Kids Are Alright). And there’s nothing wrong with them taking a more adult approach to life, love and relationships. Nor can you find even the smallest fault with their individual vocals and harmonies, which remain magical, magnetic and one of the undeniable keys to their artistic and commercial sucess. Sadly, there is a fly in the ointment: For some reason, the songs don’t have the same innovation, inspiration and irresistible drawing power this time around — while standouts like Tipsy, Busy Boy and the title track cut the mustard, a few too many of these 13 tunes seem strangely subdued and restrained, flowing by without making enough of an impression to bring you back for seconds. Of course, you won’t hear that from the worshipful, unquestioning hordes who would follow them straight off a cliff if the duo’s mentor and label boss Beyoncé even vaguely hinted at it. Make no mistake: This album is a long way from ungodly. But it is surprisingly underwhelming. And proves yet again that no one is totally immune from the sophomore slump.

THE PRESS RELEASE: “The harmonies that Chloe and Halle Bailey conjure sound like heaven. It’s what got them tens of millions of views on YouTube; it’s what eventually attracted Beyoncé’s attention; and it’s what continues to make them a force on their second album, Ungodly Hour. The duo experiments with a multitude of sounds and textures — many of their own making — while keeping their voices centred and striking as ever. Where their 2018 debut The Kids Are Alright connected that moment to their origins as child stars, this new project is about maturation — both musically and otherwise. “I feel like we were more sure of ourselves, more sure of our messaging and what we wanted to get across in just showing that it’s OK to have flaws and insecurities and show all the layers of what makes you beautiful,” Halle says. “I feel like we’ve come a long way and in our growth as young women, and you’d definitely be able to hear that in the music.” This time around, they’re owning their sexuality and, along with it, the messiness that comes with being an adult and trying to figure out your place. On its face, Ungodly Hour is an uplifting album, but it doesn’t shy away from the darker feelings that come along the way. “A lot of the world sees us as like little perfect angels, and we want to show the different layers of us,” Chloe says. “We’re not perfect. We’re growing into grown women, and we wanted to show all of that.”