Georgia Kollias ’17

For those of you who haven’t heard already, Ashley Frangipane has been tearing up the alternative music scene.

Professionally known as Halsey, her newly released album, Badlands, debuted at Number 2 on the Billboard Top 200, with more than 97,000 copies sold worldwide. Since her first EP, Room 93, was released, Halsey has cultivated a dedicated following. With over 788K followers on Twitter and 944K on Instagram, Halsey has toured with many great artists, including the Kooks, Imagine Dragons, and The Weekend. Her US Badlands Tour is already sold out in 20 cities.

Halsey tries to characterize the new generation of teenagers with her first single, “New Americana.” She says, “We are the New Americana / High on legal marijuana / Raised on Biggie and Nirvana.”  Halsey’s lyrics signify the transition from Old American Culture to the modern behavior of a diversity loving generation. Blasting with an upbeat chorus, “New Americana” is an anti-pop anthem that is both fun for the rising generation to sing along with and relate to.

One of my favorite songs from the album is “Colors.” This psychedelic song paints the picture of a girl losing her significant other to drugs, and through this experience loses herself. When she’s with him, the two create a “lilac sky,” but when he is gone, she is nothing but “blue.” Blue is the sadness she feels, the loss of loyalty, confidence, and stability.  Halsey’s evident pain and belief in what she is singing resonates through every word.  She really hits it with this piece, and as a noted BONUS–there’s a Part 2 in the album’s Deluxe Edition!

Overall, Halsey brings about a unique anti-pop sound with her new album. As she has explained in recent interviews, “it’s pop, but there’s something not quite right.” Just reading her lyrics, you are transported to this new land with tragic characters and intriguing storylines. When you add the dark background to the words, you do get a sense that something is off. Whether it’s the key of the piece or the way it was produced, you realize that Badlands is not meant to be a radio record–it’s something more personal, less commercial, and completely different altogether.  Starting with the opening track, “Castle,” Halsey begins by singing, “Sick of all these cameras flashing / sick of all this noise.”  She comments about the negative aspects of fame, of being “locked up,” and of her high expectations.  Halsey’s pessimism truly comes out–all with an eerie, trip-hop foundation of drums and synthesizers. Personally, it’s not my favorite track on the album–the verses are slow and lacking in energy and passion–but the overall vibe definitely adds to the anti-pop “badlands” theme.