Ungodly Hour

Ungodly Hour

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 centered and striking as ever. Where their 2018 debut The Kids Are Alright played up an almost angelism that 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 okay to have flaws and insecurities and show all the layers of what makes you beautiful,” Halle tells Apple Music. “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.” Here the sisters break down each song on their second album. Intro Halle: “This intro was made after we had finished making ‘Forgive Me.’ We thought about how we wanted to open this album, because our musicianship and musical integrity is always super-duper important to us, and we never want to lose the essence of who we are in trying to also make some songs that are a bit more mainstream. It felt like us being us completely and just drowning everyone in harmonies like we love to and just playing around. That was our time to play and to open the album with something that will make people's ears perk up as well as allow us to have so much fun creatively.” Chloe: “And the reason why we wanted to say the phrase ‘Don't ask for permission, ask for forgiveness’ is because that was a statement that wrapped and concluded the whole album. We should never have to apologize for being ourselves. You should never apologize for who you are or any of your imperfections, and you don't need to get permission from the world to be yourself.” Forgive Me Chloe: “I love it because it's so badass, and it's taking your power back and not feeling like your self-worth is in the trash. I remember we were all in the studio with [songwriter] Nija [Charles] and [producer] Sounwave, and for me personally, I was going through a situation where I was dealing with a guy and he picked someone else over me, and it really bothered me because I felt like it wasn't done in the most honest light. I like to be told things up front. And so when we were all in the session, this had just happened to me. I went in the booth and laid down some melodies, and some of the words came in, and then Halle went in and she sang ‘forgive me,’ and I thought that was so strong and powerful, and Nija laid down some melodies. We kind of constructed it as a puzzle in a way. It felt so good—it felt like we were taking our power back, like, ‘Forgive me for not caring and giving you that energy to control me and make me sad.’” Baby Girl Halle: “‘Baby Girl’ is a girl empowerment song, but our perspective when we were writing the song, personally, for me, it was a message that I needed to remind myself of. I remember we wrote this song in Malibu. We decided for the day after Christmas, we wanted to rent an Airbnb, and we wanted to just go out there with no parents and be by the beach and bring our gear and just create. And I remember at that time I was just feeling a little bit down, and I just needed that pick-me-up. So I started writing these lyrics about how I was feeling, how everybody makes it looks so easy and how everything that you see—it seems real, but is it really? So that was definitely an encouraging, empowering song that we wanted other girls to relate to and play when they needed that messaging—when you're feeling overwhelmed and insecure and you're just like, 'Okay, what's next?' Like, nope, snap out of it. You're amazing.” Do It Chloe: “We just love the energy of that record. It feels so lighthearted and fun but simple and complex at the same time. We worked with Victoria Monét and Scott Storch on this one, and when we were creating it, we were just vibing out and feeling good. Our intention whenever we create is never to make that hit song or that single, because whenever you kind of go into that mindset, that's when you kind of stifle your creativity, and there's really nowhere to go. So we were just all having fun and vibing out, and we were just going to throw whatever to the wall and see what sticks. After we created the song, about two weeks later, we were listening to it and we were like, 'Uh-oh, we're really kind of feeling this. It feels really, really good.' And we decided that that would be one that we would shoot a video to, and it just kind of made a life of its own. I'm always happy when our music is well received, and it just makes us happy also seeing people online dancing to it and doing the dance we did in the music video. It's really exceeding all of our expectations.” Tipsy Halle: “‘Tipsy’ was such a fun record to write. My beautiful sister did this amazing production that just brought it to a whole nother level. I remember when we were first starting out the song, I was playing like these sort of country-sounding guitar chords that kind of had a little cool swing to it, and then we just started writing. We were thinking about when we're so in love, how our hearts are just open and how the other person in the relationship really has the power to break your heart. They have that power, and you're open and you're hoping nothing goes wrong. It's kind of like a warning to them: If you break my heart, if you don't do what you're supposed to do, yes, I will go after you, and yes, this will happen. Of course it's an exaggeration—we would never actually kill somebody over that. But we just wanted to voice how it's very important to take care of our hearts and that when we give a piece of ourselves, we want them to give a piece of themselves as well. It's a playful song, so we think a lot of people will have fun with that one.” Ungodly Hour Chloe: “I believe it was Christmas of 2018, and we knew that we wanted to start on this album. With anything, we're very visual, so we got a bunch of magazines, and we got like three posters we duct-taped together, and we made our mood board. There was a phrase that we found in a magazine that said 'the trouble with angels' that really stuck out with us. We put that on the board, and we put a lot of women on there who didn't really have many clothes on because we wanted this album to express our sexuality. Halle's 20, I'm 22. We just wanted to show that we can own our sexuality in a beautiful way as young women and it's okay to own that. So fast-forward a few months, and we were in the session with Disclosure. Whenever my sister and I create lyrics, sometimes we're inspired randomly on the day and we'll hear a phrase or something. I forgot what I was doing or what I was watching, but I heard the phrase 'ungodly hour' and I wrote it in my notes really quick. So when we were all in a session together, we were putting our minds together, like, what can we say with that? And we came up with the phrase 'Love me at the ungodly hour.' Love me at my worst. Love me when I'm not the best version of myself. And the song kind of wrote itself really fast. It's about being in a situationship with someone who isn't ready to fully commit or settle down with you, but the connection is there, the chemistry is there, it's so electric. But being the woman, you know your self-worth and you know what you won't accept. So it's like, if you want all of me, then you need to come correct. And I love how simple and groovy the beat feels, and how the vocals kind of just rock on top of it. It feels so vibey.” Busy Boy Halle: “So ‘Busy Boy’ is another very playful love song. The inspiration for it basically came from our experiences, kiki-ing with our girls, when we have those moments where we're all gossiping and talking about what's going on in our lives. This one dude comes up, and we all know him because he is so fine and he's tried to holler at all of us. It was such a fun story to ride off of, because we have had those moments where—'cause we're friends with a lot of beautiful black girls, and we're all doing our thing, and the same guy who is really successful or cute will hop around trying to get at each of us. So that was really funny to talk about, and also to talk about the bonding of sisterhood, of just saying all this stuff about this guy to make ourselves feel better. I mean, because at the end of the day, we have to remind ourselves that even though you may be cute, even though you may be trying to get my attention, I know that you're just a busy boy, and I'm going to keep it moving.” Overwhelmed Chloe: “Halle and I really wanted to have interludes on this album, and we were kind of going through all of the projects and files that were on my hard drive listening on our speakers in our studio. This came up and we were like, wow. The lyrics really resonated with us, and we forgot we even wrote it. We went and reopened the project and laid down so many more harmonies on top of it. We just wanted it to kind of feel like that breath in the album, because there's so many times when you feel overwhelmed and sometimes you're even scared to admit it because you don't want to come off as weak or seeming like you can't do something, but we're all human. There have been so many times when Halle and I feel overwhelmed, and I'll play this song and feel so much better. It's okay to just lay in that and not feel pressured to know what's next and just kind of accept, and once you accept it, then you could start moving forward and planning ahead. But we all have those moments where we kind of just need to admit it and just live in it.” Lonely Halle: “This song is so very important to us. We did this with Scott Storch, and it ended up just kind of writing itself. I think one friend that we had in particular was kind of going through something in their life, and sometimes, a lot of the situations that we're around we take inspiration from to write about. We were also feeling just stuck in a way, and we wanted to write something that would uplift whoever it was out there who felt the same way we did, whether it was just being lonely and knowing that it's okay to be alone. And when you are alone, owning how beautiful you are and knowing that it's okay to be by yourself. We kind of just wrote the story that way, thinking about us alone in our apartment and what we do, what we think when we're in our room, and what they think when they go home. I mean, what is everybody thinking about in all of this? When people are waiting by the phone, waiting for somebody to call them, and the call never comes—you don't have to let that discourage you. At the end of the day, you are a beautiful soul inside and out, and as long as you're okay with loving yourself wholeheartedly, then you can be whoever you want to be, and you can thrive.” Don't Make It Harder on Me Chloe: “We wrote this with our good friend Nasri and this amazing producer Gitty, and we were all in the studio, and I believe Halle really inspired this song. She was going through a situation where she was involved with someone, and there was also someone else trying to get her attention, and we kind of just painted that story through the lyrics: You're in this wonderful relationship, but there's this guy who just keeps getting your attention, and you don't want to be tempted, you want to be faithful. And it's like, 'Look, you had your chance with me. Don't come around now that I'm taken. Don't make it harder on me.' I love it because it feels so old-school. We wanted the background to feel so nostalgic. Afterwards, we added actual strings on the record. It just feels so good—every time I listen to it, I just feel really light and free and happy.” Wonder What She Thinks of Me Halle: “I was really inspired for this song because of a story that was kind of happening in my life. I mean, the themes of 'Don't Make It Harder on Me' and this song as well are kind of hand in hand. There was this amazing guy who's so sweet, and it just talks about this bond that you have with somebody and how this person came out of nowhere. And then all of a sudden, you kind of find yourself wanting that person, but they're in a situation and you're in a situation, and you don't want to seem like you're trying to take this girl's man. We spun it into this story of being the other woman—even though, just so you know, Chloe and I were never that. So we pushed that story so far, and it was really fun and exciting to talk about, because I don't think we had ever experienced or heard another song that was talking about the perspective of the other woman—the woman who is on the side or the girl who wishes so badly that she could be with him and is always there for him. So we flipped it into this drama-filled song, which we really feel like it's so exciting and so adventurous. The melodies and the lyrics and the beautiful production my sister did, it just really turned out amazing.” ROYL Chloe: “I love 'Rest of Your Life' because it kind of feels like an ode to our debut album, The Kids Are Alright, with the anthemic backgrounds and feeling so youthful and grungy. 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. You don't know when your time to leave this earth is, so just live out for the rest of your life.' And even though we are in the ungodly hour right now, and we're learning ourselves through our mistakes and our imperfections, so what? That's what makes us who we are. Live it out.”

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