Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

Chloe x Halle ft. Joey Bada$$ – Happy Without Me

We’re just happy to have another score over 7 after those last few entries, really.


Tobi Tella: Chloe and Halle’s debut album The Kids Are Alright came out of nowhere and ended up being one of my favorite recent R&B albums, and I’m thrilled that the best song from it is getting popular. I love how it’s unabashedly young: it’s a song about high school love that treats it with more maturity than most grown artists are doing. Add a rap verse that actually adds to the song and their gorgeous voices and this is easily a favorite for the year.

Alfred Soto: The gospel-influenced last act is unexpected — the rest could work as a Kehlani track — and it adds resonance, of which Joey Bada$$’ okay part forms a part.

Nortey Dowuona: Gooey, spicy chords slide through while the drums bounce off them and the bass lurks behind as Chloe and Halle reminisce sadly on their ex-lovers moving on while Joey replies awkwardly that he too is remembering the good days even though he has seemingly moved on.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: A sleepy bit of perfectly pleasant lost-love R&B that fortunately finds a higher gear with a more interesting sonic palette its second half, as Joey Bada$$ (always the 90s revivalist) adds a bit of Ja Rule-ish rasp with his feature and Halle’s bridge gives the whole thing a much needed lift.

Anna Suiter: Chloe and Halle seem too young to sound so melancholy, but maybe that’s only my own bias talking. Usually you’d expect a song with this kind of theme to lean more toward the melodramatic, but “Happy Without Me” doesn’t. Instead it starts out more wistful, and builds into something more earnest. In a way maybe that earnestness is what wraps it around back to being “age appropriate” again. It’s not a bad effect either way.

Stephen Eisermann: One of my favorite things to find as an avid music listener is a duo (or artist/group) who seems to fully know who they are and what their strengths are from the start. Chloe x Halle absolutely fit this category, as their debut record indicates, because they’ve found a way to best frame their jazzy vocal stylings with contemporary RnB and pop productions. On “Happy Without Me,” Halle’s voice takes the lead and the timbre in her voice as well as her natural, higher pitcch give the lyrics an air of sadness and the cry in her voice lends itself well to the bridge, where Halle fights with herself about the desperation she feels in longing for those love who he moved in. All of this sits pretty in a throwback R&B production that gets a tad heavy towards the end (my only true criticism of the track), but it’s hard to fault the producer for trying to compete with the these tremendous harmonies. 

Edward Okulicz: Now this is a big gloopy ball of heartbreak streamlined into a smart, sleek bit of R&B-pop. It lays the drama and sound on thicker as it goes on until it’s almost a 60s girl group track, and yet never sinks. It’s a really young-sounding song delivered with adult wisdom.

Reader average: [8.5] (2 votes)

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