Halsey, born Ashley Frangipane, has garnered quite an impressive and steady following over the past year. After the success of her breakout EP, Room 93, word quickly spread about the alt-pop singer with a fiery edge. Now as the New Jersey-born singer releases her highly anticipated debut album, Badlands, it’s quite obvious that this is kind of a big deal and you should probably hop on the bandwagon now.
Badlands is a concept album, as was the Room 93 EP, inspired by the singer’s obsession with hotel rooms. Badlands however, showcases feelings of chaos, loneliness, strife, and triumph. Referencing her state of mind while writing the album, Badlands takes us to a physical place as a metaphor for a desolate and lonely mind. Concept albums are meant to be listened to (and devoured) the entire way through. By the time you’re done with this one, not only will you want to venture back but you’ll make no mistake that Halsey has arrived.
Badlands starts off with guns blazing. On opener, “Castle,” Halsey begins her story, telling us that age-old tale of the man on the throne who would rather she kept her mouth shut and complied with his rules. A possible blunt commentary on the misogynistic side of the music industry, perhaps?
If you can relate to the millennial movement, “New Americana” just may be your generational anthem. Although one cannot lie that being raised on Biggie and Nirvana is one rad way to spend your childhood.
“Drive” throws you right into the notion of being homesick without ever really knowing where home may be. As you take the wheel within your own life, searching for your place, it gets darker as you’re unable to see the road ahead of you thus taking you through rocky places you’ve often feared. After the darkness and the rain, however, the road trip continues in “Roman Holiday” giving off killer 80’s throwback vibes while still maintaining a modern edge. I’ll definitely be blasting this one on every fall playlist.
Fan favorite, “Ghost,” has been on rotation for a while now but I never fully grasped its meaning until now. As I rid myself of some ghosts of my own that have been lingering in my life for the past few years, I still find myself searching for those things that I can’t reach; missing those hopeless delusions I’ve built up inside my head because they kept me full; voidless. A more self-reflective commentary, this song simply describes everything we hope for yet aren’t sure we’ll ever attain.
“Colors” brought me right back to a relationship gone wrong. As the other person self-destructs, it’s just you alone going through the motions as everything around you takes on a different color. “Coming Down” continues on this sentiment of loving someone with a dangerous streak and a price to pay underneath it all.
“Haunting” just might as well be a summary of the last five years for me. With lyrics like, “‘Cause I came here so you’d come for me / I’m begging you to keep on haunting,” it’s quite evident that the things we keep to ourselves may be plaguing others as well. As forms of our dreams take flight in our heads, there’s no telling where they’ll take us – good or bad.
Badlands is only the first stop on Halsey’s journey and I’m sure there’s going to be plenty more to come. Stay tuned. You’re not gonna want to miss this ride.
Badlands is available now here.