Watch out world, not only are they grown, but Chloe X Halle can do it all by themselves. The grown-ish stars who caught Beyonceé’s attention and landed a recording contract with her label when she found their cover of “Pretty Hurts” on YouTube have taken a few more lessons from their mentor. Namely, write and it produce it yourself. That’s a tall order for teenagers (Chloe is 19 and Halle is 17), even if they’ve been writing songs since they were 10 and 8, respectively. Or is it?
Two things that the music industry does to artists is tell them what kind of music to make (and who to make it with) in order to be commercially successful and market to teen girls while refusing to take them seriously as an audience. Chloe X Halle have made a career out of giving the middle finger to both of those long-held ideas. With their sophomore album, The Kids Are Alright, the duo continue their exploration of ideas lifted from jazz, indie, rock, and pop music, blending them into a hybrid of influences and making them hard to classify. What they’re creating is sonically as advanced as nearly any artist or producer currently working. It becomes remarkable when one adds on the extra layers of doing their own vocal production on their complicated harmonies, producing their own beats, and playing instruments on their own songs. In an ideal world, letting young artists use their own voices and ideas wouldn’t be remarkable, but that’s not our reality just yet.
Listening to this album, which the duo tells Glamour celebrates the powerfulness of being female and that “we always want young girls to know that they are beautiful on their own, and they don’t need anybody to tell them what their self-worth is,” serves as a reminder of why women should write songs for each other. Women aren’t slaves for men, nor are they obsessed with the relationship since you been gone. Chloe X Halle write lyrics that address love, both universal and romantic, but do the latter from a place of power. So many of the sappy pop songs we ask women to consume, which are largely written by men, strip away the autonomy and humanity of womanhood. It’s something you forget to notice until you hear it injected back in
The other theme of the album is a message to other generations that these kids are good and ready to take the reins. In the title track and “Warrior,” especially, the message that Gen Z is prepared to do their part to fix the world offers an uplifting feeling of hope. It’s a reminder to not underestimate or infantilize them simply because they are young. Poetically, their album release date falls one day before the March for our Lives, organized by other industrious members of Gen Z, who are also coming to save us from ourselves.
Originally seen on refinery29