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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Halsey’s new album defines our generations’ “New Americana”

    There are a few artists that combine raw emotion, enchanting vocals and haunting instrumentals to create music that is both enjoyable for the listener and expressive of the artist’s passion.

    Halsey is one of these artists.

    Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, aka Halsey, isn’t just making her mark with her new album Badlands, she’s graffitiing it on the walls in big block letters and burning it into the floorboards. In a sentence, Badlands is an unapologetic, artistic presentation of Halsey, complete with personal experiences and unrestrained passion.

    Since being discovered on SoundCloud for her first self-recorded song “Ghost,” Halsey has never been one to hide her feelings and opinions. Her official website’s biography page reflects this, stating simply, “I am Halsey. I will never be anything but honest. I write songs about sex and being sad.”

    Don’t expect Badlands to include songs like Jason Derulo’s “Want to Want Me” or Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s “See You Again,” though; Halsey’s new album boldly deals with complex emotions and uncomfortable subjects in a way that many of today’s artists shy away from.

    The album begins with “Castle,” a track exemplifying Halsey’s signature ethereal electronic sound and imagery-filled lyrics. For those unfamiliar with Halsey’s style, her first original song, “Ghost” is included on the new album, as well as “Hurricane,” a track originally from her EP Room 93 from 2014, which is featured on the deluxe edition of the record.

    The standout track from the album is definitely “New Americana.” It’s one of those songs that you can listen to on repeat for an hour and still want to play again; it’s a catchy shout-out to our open-minded and diverse generation.

    The verses go from describing a successful, independent woman to a gay couple on the football team and celebrating them in an age that is open to what was once unacceptable.

    The song’s chorus says it all: “We are the new Americana, high on legal marijuana, raised on Biggie and Nirvana, we are the new Americana.”

    Another exceptional track on the album is “Strange Love,” an explicit, angry message to those who try to involve themselves in Halsey’s love life.

    The song is a message to her listeners to ignore what people say about them and to do whatever makes them happy. Halsey doesn’t promise that it will all turn out perfectly in the end but suggests that it is still worth it, knowing that you are living by your own choices and not someone else’s.

    Throughout the various tracks on Badlands, Halsey’s voice, elegant yet rough around the edges, is always the spotlight and shines bright specifically in songs like “Hold Me Down” and “Control.”

    With Badlands, Halsey has given listeners new and old a taste of her signature sound with a mix of fast-paced anthems, slow-moving ballads and a few in-betweens, but the real resounding note the record hits is through its lyrics. Although at times disguised by figurative language and upbeat instrumentals, many of these songs discuss difficult personal experiences and heartrending emotions that come straight out of Halsey’s heart and soul.

    Embracing one’s true self, sharing it with the world and inviting others to do the same is the mark of a true artist, and through Badlands, Halsey has done just that.

    Follow Victoria Pereira on Twitter.

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