Chloe x Halle are on the cusp of a massive break. As the otherworldly duo prepares their sophomore album, they’ve spent the past year making moves that positioned them as stars in their own right and not just Beyoncé‘s protégées. After their excellent debut album The Kids Are Alright earned them Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best Urban Contemporary Album, the sisters gifted a stellar addition to the soundtrack for Game of Thrones‘ final season (“Wolf At Your Door”) and continued to star on Freeform’s Grown-ish. Last summer, it was confirmed that Halle Bailey would be starring as Ariel in the live-action remake of Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
Now, the girls have returned with the lead single from their forthcoming sophomore album (titled Ungodly Hour): “Catch Up,” a collaboration with Swae Lee and Mike Will Made-It. Mike Will’s production helped defined the sound of the 2010s with hits like Beyoncé‘s “Formation,” Kanye West & Co.’s “Mercy,” and Miley Cyrus‘ “We Can’t Stop.” On “Catch Up,” Mike utilizes a slick guitar riff to build a catchy melody tailor-made for pop radio dominance. There’s also a bright drum pattern that helps balance out the drowned-out looped background adlibs that sound like incomprehensible noise. On their debut album and their earlier EPs, the girls primarily produced their records on their own. “Catch Up” is clearly an attempt at a more mainstream look being that the track features the most high-profile collaborators of their career thus far.
Between his hits with Rae Sremmurd, “Sunflower” with Post Malone, “Unforgettable” with French Montana, and more, Swae Lee’s voice has been the key to the catchiest tracks of the past few years. On this new joint, his voice blends well with Chloe x Halle’s; the parts of the song that feature them singing together, primarily the hook, are the most enjoyable. Halle handles the song’s second verse with a haunting falsetto that provides some edge to the glistening pop sheen that coats the track. On the other hand, Chloe adjusts her tone for a more laid-back approach that blends the vocal mastery of The Kids Are Alright with the more “vibe-y” color of today’s mainstream pop. The final chorus is the best part of the song; the girls bring back the intricate backing harmonies that adorned their debut album and the addition of the harmonies helps amplify the overall soundscape of the song.
“Catch Up” is a smart lead single that stays true to the unique artistry of Chloe x Halle while introducing them to a more mainstream sound.