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'Welcome to the Badlands': Halsey's New Album

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Halsey has been a breakout artist this past year with her opening for Imagine Dragons on their summer tour and playing at the Billboard Hot 100 Festival a few weeks ago. She is a 20 year old singer/songwriter from New Jersey who has just released her debut album Badlands, which is being praised by fans of all types of music. Lyrically, the album is filled with God and demon metaphors
as well as a clear sense of darkness. The album is very poetic, and it is clear that Halsey put her heart into it.

I decided to listen to the album, and I liked it so much that I wanted to do a quick review.

The opening track of the album is very tight with the cult-like vocals at the beginning. It proceeds to break out into a choir-like vocal to only have the beat completely drop and change. The instrumentals combined with the vocals makes this a strong opener to the album. This reminds me a bit of Taylor Momsen's band The Pretty Reckless, as well.

Favorite Lyric: "And there's an old man sitting on his throne singing, 'I should probably keep my pretty mouth shut.'"

"Hold Me Down"
This song was released far before the album was, and it is definitely one that pulled in the fans. It sounds like it is about the rebellion all teenagers go through with the lyric, "sneaking out the back door, make no sounds."

"New Americana"
This song is an almost anthemic song for the generation. It is saying that we are not what everyone says we are in society.

Favorite Lyric: "Raised on Biggie and Nirvana, we are the New Americana."

This is a slower track, and it is probably one of my least favorites on the album. It is still great, just not my favorite.

Another song released before the album, there is a clear poetry about this one.

Favorite Lyric: "Don't belong to no city, don't belong to no man."

This song definitely shows off Halsey's vocals really well. It is another song I heard quite a bit of time ago, and I still am not sick of it.

Favorite Lyric: "You're a rolling stone boy, never sleep alone boy...got a million numbers, and they're filling up your phone."

This song reminds me a bit of Taylor Swift's "Red" with the colors being used to represent emotions and a state of feeling. It is the alternative/indie version to a sense, but much more lyrically advanced. (Sorry Tay, still love you.) It is so lyrically well-written that it is almost as if I'm interpreting a poem in high school English class again. This is definitely my favorite song off the whole album.

Favorite Lyric: "I've never felt religion til I've laid with you."
"Colors Pt 2"
Sometimes instrumentals have as much power as lyrics, and that is exactly what this is.

"Strange Love"
This seems like an angry song about how a relationship is being judged by the outsiders, but the person just does not care. It is put together very well, especially for singing something so angry.

Favorite Lyric: "That's the beauty of a secret."

"Coming Down"
A common theme I noticed in Halsey's songs is the repeating mentions of love, religion and demons. This is exactly what this song does. It is definitely one of the less catchy songs on the album, but somehow, it is still one that can get stuck in your head. She parallels sex and love with hell and religion, but it is very well written.

Favorite Lyric: "His lips like tangerine in his color-coded speak."

This is a song that fits the title. It is haunting. This song is very well produced.

Favorite Lyric: "I was as pure as a river, but now I think I'm possessed."

This is another one of my favorites on the album. It is another song about how people can talk about you all they want, but who cares? It is very inspiring considering this is the age where we all want to think that.

Favorite Lyric: "I think there's a fault in my code."

This is a bit of an eerie song that seems like an internal battle for the speaker. There is another mention of monsters and demons, but it somehow reminded me of the Haunted Mansion (thanks Disney).

Favorite Lyric: "I've been familiar with villains that live in my head."

"Young God"
This is very built up in the opening like a story is beginning and ending. I really enjoy the intense instrumentals that parallel the "running" in the song. It is almost like the music is running in the cycle that the speaker is.

Favorite Lyric: "I've been sitting at the bottom of the swimming pool for a while now drowning out my thoughts."

"I Walk the Line"
This Johnny Cash cover is the perfect closing song to the album. It's slower and gives a bit of a James Bond vibe. There is a very catchy lyric for the chorus that makes it a perfect ending.

Favorite Lyric: "Because you're mine, I walk the line."

Great job on the album, Halsey. I'll probably be listening on repeat for the next month.
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