Halsey, the hysterically honest, what-you-see-is-what-you-get 20 year old internet sensation has released her very first album, Badlands, a pop album with a twist. Halsey strays away from the mainstream pop sounds, and instead incorporates her own sound, which is somewhere in between haunting and down right spooky. She is not only a talented up and coming artist, she seems to be the new voice for this generation.
Badlands opens up with the track "Castle," a dynamic tune that demands all attention. It is a peek into what Halsey has in store, both musically and lyrically. The lines "I'm headed straight for the castle/ They wanna make me their queen/ And there's an old man sitting on the throne that's saying that I probably shouldn't be so mean" shows that Halsey means business. She's going to get what she wants, whether you like it or not, and she's not asking for permission.
"Hold Me Down," the second track on Badlands, is among the many hits that Halsey produces on this album. This track is targeted for a more radio based audience, where she repeats the lines "Hold me down, hold me down/ Sneaking out the back door/ Make no sound/ Knock me out, knock me out/ Saying that I want more/ This is what I live for" with slight variation, but it still works.
Halsey's biggest hit "Ghost," which has over 4 million views on YouTube, is an upbeat tune with a darker message. She elegantly manages to sing about a boy who seems to always disappear when you need him the most, without it all being doom and gloom. This skill is something that she manages to keep throughout the entire album, so you don't feel like listening to her music is a downer.
Her next big hit "Americana" is a little less serious, and far more playful. It is the ultimate anthem for any 90's kid. The hook line "We are the new Americana/High on legal marijuana/Raised on Biggie and Nirvana/We are the new Americana" is catchy, and gives light to just how much Halsey relates to and understands her audience.
In the middle of the 16 track album, are the songs "Hurricane" and "Roman Holiday," which are both lyrically more mature than some of the previous songs. They each have themes about needing to escape. Whether it's running away with a boy because of a rough family "Cause I remember when my father put his fist through/ The wall that separated the dining room," or running from the boy himself "I'm a wanderess/ I'm a one night stand/ Don't belong to no city/ Don't belong to no man." These tracks are raw and honest, and shed some light on Halsey's softer more vulnerable side.
Further down the list, "Colors" and "Colors Pt. 2" are easily the biggest heart wrenches of the album. Halsey describes perfectly what it's like to love someone suffering with addiction, and grip listener's emotions. With lines like "Your little brother never tells you but he loves you so/ You said your mother only smiled on her TV show/ You're only happy when your sorry head is filled with dope/ I hope you make it to the day you're 28 years old" and "You were red and you liked me because I was blue/ You touched me and suddenly I was a lilac sky/ And you decided purple just wasn't for you" it's easy to see why Halsey has become such an obsession for many.
"Gasoline," track 13, is a hard punch in the face after listening to lighter tracks. Listeners can tell that this track has been greatly inspired by artists like Kanye West, who Halsey has stated she admires. The lyrics are rough and in your face- "Are you deranged like me? Are you strange like me? Lighting matches just to swallow up the flame like me? Do you call yourself a f*****g hurricane like me? Pointing fingers cause you’ll never take the blame like me?" and make this song one for the record books.
Badlands ends perfectly in a Halsey kind of way, with a cover of "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash. This may seem odd to fans at first, but with an album made from sex, drugs, and especially heartache, what else could we expect from Halsey?