iReview: BADLANDS by Halsey

Good evening, young lads and ladies!

A while ago, when I reviewed Cry Baby by Melanie Martinez, a fellow blogger and music lover gxxdbyeagony (check out her blog!) suggested that if I liked Melanie’s music, I’d love this artist called Halsey. I looked her up, saw that he had just dropped her first album and that many other people compared her to Melanie, who I loved. So I downloaded the album, and have been eager but reluctant to hear it.

First off, I don’t want to let go of my precious Cry Baby just yet. And I also was afraid that I just wouldn’t connect with this and understand it like I did with Cry Baby, which was all coherent and clear.

Nevertheless, I want to see – or listen, for that matter – for myself and make my own opinion. Who knows, maybe I’ll love it!

Leggo:

1-Castle

Okay… Spooky…

Wow. Awesome beat.

Is this opera? Church choir? What is this?

Oh god, her voice sounds just like Melanie! Which is certainly a good thing.

I feel like this is the grown up version of Cry Baby? (the album I mean. Maybe it’s too early to judge)

I think I’m going to read the lyrics as I listen, much more easy to understand.

I wasn’t wrong. This is about the industry and its rulers and she just wants to break free from them and do whatever the hell she wants. The people want her to be their ‘queen’ but the ‘man’ won’t let her. So she broke free, and now her ‘neck is open wide, begging for a fist around it’. These are great lyrics.

You go girl! Great album starter.

2-Hold Me Down

Okay… Still kinda crybabyish… 

Is this about kidnapping or sexual assault like in Tag, You’re it? Nah I feel like there’s something else…

Hmmmmmm

I can’t help but thinking of ‘Nobbareh Nobbareh can drag me downnn’. Damn you 1D.

Wow. Well, at first this song confused me. But it still has one of the most infectious pop beats I’ve heard recently.

Upon re-listen, I find that this song is kind of a follow up to Castle. She’s free, she’s trying to reach the top, but something’s holding her down. Is it me, or do I see no sign of resistance? Is she just giving in to her demons?

I guess we’ll find out later.

3-New Americana

Balenciaga! I know this brand! I think.

Oh my god I love this chorus.

This is the best rhyming ever. Americana and Marijuana. She knows her shit.

GOSH I LOVE HOW SHE SAYS AMERICANA

The production is just awesome. Beautiful. Love it. 

I think this is throwing shade at America/ns more than being a pride anthem? I’m not sure. 

Or she may be talking about how SHE grew up and rose to fame… Or she could just be naming the things that have been made famous in America -or made America famous- like Nirvana, the fashion brands, Football teams, gay marriage, bubblegum pop… 

Maybe it’s a mix of them all?

4-Drive

OMG YASSSS

THIS IS GREATNESSS

The music is just so rustic and creepy and old-school-horror-movie-y.

Oh yas gurl preach. As I said it before, this girl knows her shit. All we do is sit and drive and feel all the feels.

Noooo. You disappointed me a little. I don’t really like these songs that go like ‘and we say aaaaahhhhohhhhh’ like really? What is that supposed to mean?

The second verse has so much sounds. It’s really like a movie.

Wait who is this guy?

Does anyone feel like there’s a guy singing with her in the chorus? Or maybe that’s her lower-pitched voice… Either way, the effect is great and this sounds epic.

Twitwututwitwutu

What’s happening? This is weird. This is the album version of a horror movie.

LOVE IT.

5-Hurricane

The chorus is great… but I almost feel like it’s the same as another song before?

But I say that at the first listen of every album. I’ll get over that later.

There are just too many echoes and sounds and buzzes… it’s hypnotic. I love that little whistling sound.

I still feel like this is Melanie’s voice and it’s so amazing how they’re not the same person.

OH GOD YES

EARGASM

The last bit of chorus is so full of goodness. It’s dreamy. More like nightmareish. But in the good way. Eerie.

Now, I don’t really get where she went with this right away. At first I thought she’s being sexually exploited, but then in the chorus it turns out that she’s some sort of gypsy who goes around fucking everyone because she can and causing storms and hurricanes. And she must have something special about her, because men are literally begging her to destroy them.

The grim music fits the lyrics perfectly. 

6-Roman Holiday

Wait. Roman holiday… I thought Nicki Minaj invented that name? so it’s a real thing?

Oh well.

At least there are no horrible singing voices in this one telling roman to take his medication.

Wait… did I not hear the roman holiday part or does she not even mention it?

Shush im trying to concentrate.

Yup there it is. Let’s get away on a roman holiday.

The song is pretty straightforward, it’s just about two friends/lovers escaping their lives for a short time, going on a ‘holiday’.

ORRR... This could very well be a break-up track. Going on a holiday could be a metaphor for taking a break from the relationship. This makes more sense if you look at the verses’ lyrics.

This song sounds like a movie soundtrack. Like the part where they’re all happy and carefree until something dreadful happens.

Let’s hope it’s not foreboding for the next song.

7-Ghost

Nope. This one isn’t dreadful. At all. It’s pretty great actually.

It’s also the first one where I could clearly make out the lyrics by myself.

I don’t undertand. Does she love him? Did she love him but not anymore? Did he change?

Ohhh yeah I get it. Nice comparison. His former self is dead. He has changed and she can’t recognize the man she once loved. He has ‘a million number’ on his phone, which means the douchebag is probably off screwing other girls.

8- Colors

This is like a mix of Dollhouse and Sippy Cup. UHMAZING!

Oh my gosh! In the chorus she now sounds like Taylor Swift!

I love it so much. Bluuuuuuuuuuhouwowuhuu (or at least I think its what shes saying)

Wait. He has grey hair? Is this about a creepy grandpa?

I love all the use of color in here!

I wish she had called this song Blue. Then I could have two of my favorite songs called Blue (this and Marina’s).

This is the song I’m having most trouble understanding.

In a weird way, it sounds as though she’s talking to -or about- a fictional character from a book. It’s probably not that but it makes sense with the lyrics! And I’d love it if anyone would actually make a song about being in love with a fictional character. Ah…

9-Colors, pt. 2

Wait I thought this was supposed to be a second part, so like it connects to the previous one?

This one is just sad and scary… no color. Like at all.

Ohhh there it is. Everything is-

What? Everything is what?

OH MY GOD. Another eargasm. This is like a twisted remix. I’m not sure which I prefer. Both perfect!

10-Strange Love

Yassssss. Awesome beat to match the title.

Wow. That was straightforward.

Yep. Just fuck em all. Nun o’ their bidness.

Ouuhh she’s afraid of speaking his name. Is he Voldemort?

This is one of the more subdued songs on here. But it’s still kinda crazy.

The song’s meaning is very clear. Everyone wants to know about her lovelife. She just doesn’t want anyone to know because it’s really none of their business. Glad she’s taking a stand.

11-Coming Down

Badlands radio? What?

Ohh the name of the album.

Okay.

This is comparing her love to religion.

Like literally everything in this song is religious references in a relationship. Quite interesting.

By “he’s coming down”, does she mean like the Second Coming? Or I don’t get it…

I really like how calm this is. Suits the song. Her voice just flows through.

Itscamadandancamadaawn. So gruuvy.

He must be underground already if he keeps coming down *badumtss*

12-Haunting

Yep. This is definitely haunting.

And now I think I’m possessed.

What a literal album. That’s not a bad thing.

Gold boyfriend? Sell him you stupid hoe!

Oh shit what has she done that’s so serious.

Her voice really does sound strained and scared. By the power of Jesus, get out of that woman you awful demon! Thank you.

Or stay, if that means more awesome music.

Ah well, I did really think there’s gonna be a scream like in Pity Party on here. Would have made it 10 times better. Still awesome though.

On second listen, I just realized that the weird sounds at the beginning of the song is the same during the chorus, and it’s not just a weird sound, it’s saying ‘Keep On Haunting Me‘. That was strange, but okay.

I love the idea of a former lover ‘haunting’ her in her new relationships. What’s more intriguing is that she’s encouraging him to haunt her. Does she want them to get back together? One could only guess. So far all her songs have alternate meanings, and I feel like it’s really up to the listener to understand them the way he wants.

13-Gasoline

Wow. Track 13 already?! This flowed right through so easily.

I love this asian feel! More pls.

Yep. I feel like I’m in some Chinese castle.

And with chorus, a fight just breaks through in the kingdom. It really feels like a movie.

How many times have I compared this album to a movie already?

Yes, I am strange like you. Though not as much.

The chorus is really everything. It reminds me of Princess of China by Rihanna. For obvious reasons.

But wait… what’s gasoline got to do with this?

Oh. Everyone’s treating her like a machine. Like she’s not human, just for being a celebrity. And like all machines she runs on gasoline – our love and praise for her.

14-Control

Power and controoool, im gonna maaake you faaaaaalll

Okno.

Oho. You’re sure as hell not bigger than Madame Maxime’s bones (if you got the reference, you rock. Lemme know.)

This is Milk & Cookies of this album, in terms of disconcertingness. I’m uncomfortable. But then again, as someone fancy and famous once said, art is supposed to make people uncomfortable.

Oh wow. This last chorus is really powerful. It feels like a movie where she finds out about her powers, and she’s really scared of them. Like Frozen! Nope? Kay.

Oops. Yet another movie comparison.

I don’t really understand this song. Is she being possessed? Is she not in control of her actions? Wow. Intense. She’s even scaring kids.

15-Young God

What is this? Backwards talk?

Im scared. Whats gonna come after this build up…

Oh not much. Meh.

This song isn’t picking up! Bitch pick up! I’m waiting!

I want a steady beat! This has so much potential.

Oh wow what the hell did I just hear.

If you fuck me right now you’ll go to heaven?!

What is this? This is far more twisted than Cry Baby.

I don’t get it. I just don’t. These last few songs are confusing. 

Is he sort of just persuading her to fuck him?

What do young gods have to with this?

And to top it off the song just stops in the middle of a sentence!

16-I Walk The Line

Yet more weird sounds…

Oooo piano. Finally something sorta familiar. This sort of sounds like Heaven by Beyonce. I feel like I’ve compared another song to it before. Meh.

I love this. This beat, this pace, the lyrics, perfect.

Oh. That was just the pre-chorus. The chorus is even cooler.

This is great. Great song. Dark romance. At least I think it’s romance.

Could be anything really.

***

That was my review! As always this was a first listen and I wrote down everything I felt while listening.

However, this time I decided to sleep on it and really try to understand the songs more on second listen, which makes for a more substantial review (that’s why the first part of each song review is initial reactions and the second part is my interpretation).

This is also my first time reviewing with my new headphones (gift from a generous friend), and it’s awesome because they give more bass and I don’t have to stick them in as they slide out of my ears every few minutes.

So the album was good, even better the second time around. I could definitely see how it all connects. I really loved some parts, some were a bit confusing, some just too much, but overall I got what I expected and I couldn’t ask for much more.

I guess my favorite is Colors because I’ve played it many times already and it’s so fucking good and fulfilling.

I don’t know if this will match up to my Cry Baby standards and I’ll start playing it all day… we’ll see!

Rating: 4.25/5 Stars.

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18 thoughts on “iReview: BADLANDS by Halsey

    1. OH YES OMG I FORGOT YOU WERE THE ONE WHO TOLD ME ABOUT HER! (And you were gxxdbyeagony back then xD surprisingly I still remember how to spell it)
      YOU KNOW WHAT?!
      When she releases a new album we should totally review it together!

      Like

  1. I loved this album of hers
    She’s done a collab with Justin Bieber called “The Feeling” and omg that song is amazing 🙂
    New Americana is my favourite track in the album… The whole “we’re different but we own it” vibe is brilliant
    Also, you should here this song called “Army” by Ellie Goulding.. That song’s pretty nice as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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