Over the past few years, pop music has been flirting with moody alternative styles. Artists such as Lorde, Sia, Lana Del Ray and The Neighbourhood have made their ways to the top of the charts with their dark, edgy styles. On Aug. 28, a new album added some fuel to the fire of the pop music revolution.
Up and coming singer-songwriter Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, better known by her stage name Halsey, has kept her Soundcloud cult following of fans on their toes since day one. From the release of her debut EP “Room 93” in late 2014, all the way to the release of her deluxe album, “BADLANDS,” Halsey has yet to disappoint. “BADLANDS” is now No. 1 on iTunes’ alternative charts.
Halsey stays true to her distinctive, broody sound throughout the album, featuring sixteen songs, including “Ghost” and “Hurricane,” that had been featured on her EP. Electronic beats and melodies assist in creating an almost sinister musicality.
Right from the start, “Castle” sets the scene with eerie creaks, static buzzing, heavy bass, an eerie choir and Halsey’s clean, haunting vocals.
The third song on the album, “New Americana,” expresses the feelings of youth culture through her telling lyrics: “We are the new Americana / High on legal marijuana / Raised on Biggie and Nirvana.” Radio stations have recently caught wind of the hit single and have commended the lyrics, claiming it to be the latest generational anthem.
But her recent success hasn’t come without its consequences. In “Gasoline,” Halsey preaches to her fans about the stigmas that come with fame. In her lyrics, “And all the people say/ ‘You can’t wake up, this is not a dream/ You’re part of a machine/ You are not a human being / With your face all made up, living on a screen / Low on self esteem, so you run on gasoline,” Halsey tells us the story of her personal struggles with being an artist and living with bipolar disorder.
Halsey’s lyrics have a perfect balance of poetry and brutal honesty. It isn’t surprising coming from an artist whose official online biography is a mere three sentences: “I am Halsey. I will never be anything but honest. I write songs about sex and being sad.”
If you haven’t bought “BADLANDS,” I recommend you do so. While you’re at it, pick up a couple tickets to her show in Columbus, Ohio on Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. at Newport Music Hall.
Also, keep a look out for her upcoming short film. After the release of her “BADLANDS” trailer, the dystopian-set feature can only further captivate Halsey’s audiences.