Five on it Chloe x Halle photo screenshot from YouTube
So if you happen to Google the headline for this week’s Five on it, you will find some iteration of those words across a bunch of different websites. And maybe that’s down to a lack of originality on my part, or maybe it’s because it’s just undeniably true – Chloe x Halle really are the future!
Before I get into last weekend’s incredible VMAs pre-show performance, let’s wheel it back a little bit.
A kid sibling duo getting signed to the label of Beyoncé herself (btw, happy birthday queen), off the back of some astonishing YouTube covers (this one makes me feel so old I can taste my mortality)? Yeah, Chloe and Halle Bailey were obviously always going to be special, destined for great things etc etc – but expectation rarely meets with reality. Then, in 2017, The Two of Us tape proved how the sisters didn’t just blend into some safe teeny pastiche with their music. With its sweet a capellas and strangely beguiling quasi-nursery rhymes, it showed off a bright creativity and charisma. They’d bring the same to their very polished debut album, 2018’s The Kids Are Alright – but then, even with all that in mind, I still wasn’t ready for how good their most recent album, Ungodly Hour, is.
I was furloughed still when it came out (in my absence, Sophia rightly shouted out one of its singles) so ‘Forgive Me’ (hehehe) for getting into it here. Of course, they have always shown ambition in their sound, but this pushes beyond anything they’ve done before sonically. There are parts where it sounds like epic pop-R&B sci-fi (‘ROYLS’!), there’s such assuredness in every line, all married together by those gorgeous harmonies they do so well. Ultimately it places them in a beautiful lineage of futurism within the genre.
Anyway, they really drove all of this home with their VMAs performance of ‘Ungodly Hour’ – as our lifestyle editor Niellah points out, “they have actually reminded the world of TALENT”. A live performance with these kinds of vocals is like…yeah, you can tell they are Beyoncé protégés. The song leans into warm nostalgia while offering a slick edge of something new and untold, mirrored in those silver metallic android superhero look. Also, can we take a minute for the power in those synchronised moves?
In the past 24 hours, the sisters put out a remix of ‘Do It’ with some of the rap gals – aka. City Girls, Doja Cat andMulatto. It’s not as fire as the original track, in my opinion, but still is a reminder of just how much we’re gonna keep seeing Chloe x Halle – and how much we are here for it.
Also today is Bandcamp day so head over the Black Bandcamp and buy yourself some music where 100% of the profits will go to the artists!
And now, here’s five on it:
SZA ft. Ty Dolla $ign – ‘Hit Different’
Visually stunning, sonically vibey, SZA has returned to bless us with silky R&B (and who better to accompany her than the vocal king, Ty Dolla $ign?). Music-wise the most interesting part for me is that gorgeous switch-up towards the end, where things feel almost celestial.
D Double E ft. Kano – ‘Tell Me A Ting’
A banging follow-up to one of 2019’s biggest and best collaborations, two of grime’s greatest assemble ahead of Double’s next album, bringing boisterous bars over this frenzied, punchy production.
Raheaven – ‘7AM’
This is a smooth ode to that awkward bit where someone outstays their overnight welcome (the chorus includes the lines, “Why are you still here, in my living room?”). The beat is a lithe shuffle and Londoner Raheaven’s voice is a dream.
Shygirl – ‘FREAK’
You know that emoji where there’s steam coming out of the nose? That is how this gloriously twisted pop track makes me feel. Produced by Sega Bodega, London artist Shygirl is bringing pure heat and deviance on this.
Yemi Alade – ‘True Love’
So the track has been out a little while, but we’re shouting it out because the video has landed this week – and, like the song itself, it’s all so vast and vibrant. The Nigerian pop star has a real gift for sugary sweetness and the video is a joy – watch, listen, and try resist having a lil bop with a smile on your face.
You can listen to the Five on it playlist on Spotify: