The time has come to drive, dive, fly, or run into the Badlands as fast as possible. Halsey’s debut album dropped 8/27 at around 10PM central time in the U.S. The following post will be an experience.(I’m too excited and editing this is going to be a job!) If you make it all the way through this you deserve a prize!
Castle: The editor’s note on iTunes reads that this song and New Americana (which we already know I LOVE) is the graduation speech you always wanted to hear. And that could not be more true. So powerful as the opener of the album. The choral pieces in the background completely change the dynamics from what we’ve heard on stage while she’s been performing this song. The beginning there’s a beat that sounds like a gate closing, which is perfect when keeping in mind that at this point we regard the Badlands as something we can’t leave. But she’s still determined to win, to fight, to be the one in control, and I love that. Favorite Line: “Oh all these minutes passing, sick of feeling used. If you wanna break these walls down you’re gonna get bruised.”
Hold Me Down: This was my first favorite song off the album, I’d heard it live when I saw Halsey opening for Imagine Dragons in Omaha this summer and I loved it. It was powerful, and I remember reading somewhere, I forget now if it was a fans interpretation or if Halsey actually said this, that it was about her entrance into the recorded music industry. It was about giving up her expression and her love and passion for song writing and performing to be monetized by her label. And thinking, this girl is bad ass. Halsey prides herself on writing and doing the things male performers get away with all the time. Pushing boundaries, writing about sex, all of it. And this song solidifies just how strong and tough and bad this New Jersey girl really is. Favorite Line: “My demons are begging me to open up my mouth I need them mechanically make the words come out They fight me, vigorous and angry, watch them pounce Ignite me, licking up the flames they bring about.”
New Americana: This released early off the album as well, and became a single. I’ve discussed it so many times at this point I’ll keep this brief but it is so important for my generation to start using our brain and making change to our world and to have this anthem that could lead that is the coolest thing in the world. Favorite Line: “Raised on biggie and Nirvana we are the New Americana.”
Drive: The first happy song. The flipped switch that says you can leave. Again, I talked about this one in my last post so I’ll recommend you go read that if you haven’t instead of rambling on again. Favorite Line: “It’s bliss. It’s so simple but we can’t stay. Over analyze again, would it really kill you if we kissed?”
Hurricane: Hurricane is another song I’ve mentioned before. I’ve used it on my radio show a couple times. A raw song about belonging to yourself. One of my favorites before the album dropped. Favorite Line: I’m a wanderess, I’m a one night stand don’t belong to no city don’t belong to no man.
Roman Holiday: If my roommates were not here and/or not sleeping I’d probably be screaming. A coming of age song is the only way I can phrase it, and it feels like it. It feels like a romance and a whirlwind at that. It feels like the fear and firsts she describes. It feels like the perfume she mentions in the first line- the floral kind you steal from a mother. I won’t lie, I started crying a few seconds in. That’s the power this young woman has (which is a weird way to refer to someone my age…. moving on) I always wanted to be in entertainment because of the power music has and artists have in shaping society and youth more specifically. Halsey took that power in stride and this song shows that. Favorite line: ‘We’re headstrong, and our heart’s gone and the timing’s never right.”
Ghost: The song that hooked me. The original. The first. The self released track. The track that started it all. You almost have to get wistful as she sings about reaching for something she can’t reach as her album is #2 on iTunes. Congratulations Ashley. Congratulations. Favorite Line: “you’re a rolling stone boy, never sleep alone boy, got a million numbers and they’re filling up your phone, boy.”
Colors: This song is one of those that you play while its raining in the car. It’s the perfect metaphor. As someone who has often felt the consequences of allowing someone to change you and then watching them leave this song will always hit me hard. It’s a song we’ve heard live for awhile but hearing it in this format sent chills down my spine in two seconds. Favorite Line: You’re ripped at every edge but you’re a masterpiece.
Colors, pt. 2: A brief reprise of colors, not exactly what I expected when I saw it on the track list but an impeccable production quality!
Strange Love: Okay, first, explicit: like very… but so good. So good, especially looking at it in the context of how my, our, generation tends to over share- and expect that from their peers- I love this. I love that its about secrets, I love that it’s about people not needing to know your whole story. I love it. Favorite line(s):And I’m gonna write it all down, and I’m gonna sing it on stage;That’s the beauty of a secret You know you’re supposed to keep it.
Coming Down: I think this song is a great reflection of Halsey’s raw talent. Her voice in this song, all of the others as well, but this one really speaks to her vocal talent, and the unique quality of it. As well as her lyric quality. Just overall a great representation of her talent and what we can look forward to more of after Badlands. Favorite Line: I found the Devil I found him in a lover And his lips like tangerine In his color coded speak.
Haunting: Living for the production on this song. The thing with Halsey songs is that there are so many situations you can apply her lyrics to. The concept album was in summation about a mental state but this song, for me, goes to sour relationships I can’t seem to rid myself of. Great song. Definitely tugs at the emotions no matter how you find it in your life. Favorite Line: You’ve got a fire inside but your heart’s so cold.
Gasoline: This song is tied for my favorite on the album. I think this, and the song which follow entitled Control best represent the mental state the album refers to. About how mental health issues change ones opinion of themselves. How it feels to live with these issues, and fight these issues. I’ve had it on repeat since the album came out and it is the one song most frequently stuck in my head. Favorite Line: Do you call yourself a F****ing hurricane like me?
Control: I think this song is the most clear cut, obvious representation of demons and mental illness on the album. Halsey’s ability to make this so relatable without being triggering is incredible. The lyrics of this song should leave you shivering, they do for me. A song about trying to win a battle with the vicious things living in your head. I think it is beyond important for songs like this to exist to show that these problems, these demons exist inside Hollywood,inside the sparkly celebrity world we’re all so fascinated with, and Halsey does the perfect job of showing that. Favorite Line: I’m bigger than my body, I’m colder than this home, I’m meaner than my demons, I’m bigger than these bones.
Young God: This is my other favorite album song. I think it’s great in the lines of the concept where in my mind, she’s getting ready to leave. Where you can over come you can be the controller the leader the supreme being over these demons and the illnesses and the issues. You can win. Be the God. I love it . Favorite Line: Oh baby girl you know we’re gonna be legends. I’m the King and you’re the Queen and we will stumble through heaven.
I Walk the Line: A great song, especially again keeping in mind the full concept, which I believe illustrates crossing the ‘line’ out of the badlands. It’s admittedly not my favorite on the album, but I’ve come to accept that everything she touches is going to be good. I would have almost preferred the album to end with Young God- not to exclude this one completely but for me, in my journey through the Badlands Young God felt more fitting as an end. Although I’d love to chat about what this song particularly really means to Halsey and how she saw it in her Badlands universe. Favorite Line: I find it very, very easy to be true. I find myself alone when each day is through.
Thank you for reading this long winded piece. New music coming to you Friday!