ENTERTAINMENT: Halsey Delivers On Debut Album
By Nicole Macchio – Entertainment Editor
Halsey released her first full-length album on August 28. “Badlands” takes listeners on a tour through the mind of the young artist and brings them through the ups and downs of her life. It’s not so much an album about feelings as it is a state of mind. Halsey takes people through what she thinks is the desolate wasteland that is her mind.
All her life, Halsey has been surrounded by music. Growing up, her parents would play various types of music that she has told interviewers has influenced her own music style. As a teenager, Halsey was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has struggled to come to terms with what that has meant to her life. She doesn’t let it cripple her; instead, Halsey writes honestly about its effect on her life.
Halsey started out her music career by posting YouTube videos and her big break came when she put her song “Ghost” on Soundcloud.
Halsey previously released an EP, “Room 93,” that included five songs. The success of these songs officially put Halsey on the map and helped her write “Badlands.” The indie pop album has 11 songs on the standard version and 16 on the deluxe version. The deluxe version features the songs “Hurricane,” “Colors Pt. 2,” “Strange Love,” “Gasoline,” and “I Walk the Line.”
Halsey has been quoted saying this album is an “angry female record.” That description of her album is almost spot on. Each song she wrote for this album has an edgy feeling and a mix of different sounds inspired by other artists that Halsey makes her own.
The album starts off with “Castle,” which has hard beats. “Hold Me Down” is inspired by a need to inspire people to never let anyone tell them they can’t do anything. Halsey sings about “clinging to a little bit of spine” which emphasizes her sticking to her own needs and not letting anyone step on her.
“New Americana” one of the more popular songs on the album. This song is about being diverse in America and about embracing things that are different and accepting them. It’s not a song that is as superficial as one might think upon first listen. The song “Drive” is softer and mellows out the setlist for a few minutes. “Hurricane” is about independence. A girl falls for a guy and he thinks he’s going to devastate her by leaving, but she turns around and says that she doesn’t belong to anyone. It’s meant as a message for girls and guys everywhere to be independent. “Roman Holiday” is more wistful with a solid beat and a strong vibe.
“Ghost” is Halsey’s first original song that she had released. Halsey mentions in the commentary for “Room 93” that she wanted her sound to be “church-y, scary, shimmery” that and is what she based the rest of her music on. She rereleased the song on this album because of its success on the EP.
“Colors” is about loving the idea of a person and the way that affects other people. Halsey sings, “You were red and you liked me because I was blue, but you touched me and suddenly I was a lilac sky then you decided purple just wasn’t for you,” which talks about the way people can change you and then not like what they did to you. The song “Colors Pt. 2” is a series of rhythms and sounds that are rocky and confusing. She uses the chorus and a verse from “Colors” as the only words she sings.
“Strange Love” has a rhythm that can now associated with the album. She writes about her freedom to not say anything to press about her relationships, but that she will because it’s what she’s good at writing about. “Coming Down” is softer than the previous tracks, once again slowing down the pace of the album.
“Haunting” is a track about wanting someone to stay with you, to keep haunting you.
“Gasoline” is about Halsey’s bipolar disorder and how she doesn’t feel human. She is blunt and passionate and the upbeat tempo. She sings, “Are you high enough without the Mary Jane like me? Do you tear yourself apart to entertain like me? Do the people whisper about you on the train like me? Saying that ‘you shouldn’t waste your pretty face’ like me?’” Like “Gasoline,” “Control” has a fast tempo and blunt tone. She says, “I’m bigger than my body I’m colder than this home. I’m meaner than my demons I’m bigger than these bones.” Halsey struggles with her bipolar disorder, and is still figuring things out.
Ending the album is “Young God.” Halsey calls this song “trippy” and it certainly fits that description with its swaying cords and the promiscuity. “I Walk the Line” is a cover of “I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash, but it sounds much different. Where Cash’s song is accentuated by a banjo and is slow-paced, Halsey’s version is very sultry.
This album has gained Halsey immense popularity and earned her a nomination for MTV Europe Awards’ “Artist on the Rise” for 2015. She is also featured on Justin Bieber’s new album “Purpose,” which has already been a huge hit.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars