Album Review: Halsey’s “Badlands”
Jessica Pellegrino – General Assignment Reporter
Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, whose stage name is Halsey, released her much anticipated debut album, “Badlands,” after gaining mega success for only one EP. She made a name for herself by opening for Imagine Dragons at the South by Southwest music festival this past summer.
Halsey is a 20-year-old New Jersey native with the voice of someone well above her age. She has the voice of a top 40s singer, with refreshingly unique lyrics that come completely uncensored.
She is witty and unapologetic in her lyrics and her voice elevates her music. Her music is resonant of greats like Lana Del Rey.
The album opens with slowed down hip-hop track, “Castle.” The lyrics of the song are almost omniscient in their accuracy. Halsey sings, “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.” The song almost serves as a promise that her rise to stardom is not fleeting, but lasting.
“New Americana,” the first single off of the album, is a ballad for her generation. She sings, “We are the New Americana/High on legal marijuana/Raised on Biggie and Nirvana/ We are the New Americana.” The songs tackles every hot button issue from gay marriage to recreational marijuana use to social media influence.
One of the more underwhelming tracks on the album is “Drive,” which sits in the middle of the album and serves as a transition for the album. The song is about going on car drives with a person you feel safe with. So, it makes sense that the song is mundane and comfortable. Regardless, the song falls flat in comparison to the other tracks on the albums.
One thing that Halsey did do with “Badlands” is that she rerecorded a few tracks from her previous EP. One of these is “Hurricane,” The track pairs her gorgeous voice with a Purity Ring-esque sound that resonates wonderfully. In the track she compares herself to a hurricane.
“Colors” is one of the more outrageous tracks from the album. Her signature, honest lyrics reference opiate addiction and falling in love with someone who is beautiful, but terrible for you. She sings, “You were red and you liked me ’cause I was blue/You touched me and suddenly I was a lilac sky/And you decided purple just wasn’t for you.” This song is one of the more love oriented tracks on the album.
But the stand out track of the album is “Strange Love,” which is very explicitly about everyone being too obsessed with her personal life.
She sings, “Everybody’s waiting up to hear if I dare speak your name/Put it deep beneath the track, like the hole you left in me/And everybody wants to know ’bout how it felt to hear you scream/They know you walk like you’re a god, they can’t believe I made you weak.”
The lyrics are definitely uncensored, and she is not afraid to drop an F bomb or two to get her point across to her listeners.
The album is the direct result of a woman empowered. Halsey’s lyrics are relatable, without being monotonously cliche. Yet, her sound fits in perfectly with the millennial driven audience she is singing to.
Photo Credit: DeShaun Craddock