Welcome to the BADLANDS

Angela Tricarico

If you haven’t already heard of Halsey, that’s about to change. Few may know her as Ashley Frangipane, ‘the girl who wrote the Haylor song,’ after she wrote a song in reaction Taylor Swift and Harry Styles’ headline-making relationship.

After adopting the stage name Halsey, she began releasing more original music, starting with the single “Ghost.” “Ghost,” along with four other songs, were released as the Room 93 EP, which peaked at number three on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart in October 2014. Her fan following grew as her music did, but her music isn’t the only things fans appreciate so much about Halsey. She’s a bi-racial, bisexual woman, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when she was 17, and she’s extremely open about all of these things. Halsey is extremely important to the music world.

After Room 93’s success, a Halsey album was much anticipated, and on Aug. 28, she delivered with BADLANDS. It’s described as a place, a state of mind, somewhere you don’t want to be. Beware of the Badlands.

Previously released songs “Ghost” and “Hurricane” are featured on the new release, along with “Hold Me Down,” “New Americana,” and “Drive,” three songs that were released on iTunes as incentive to preorder.

“New Americana” proved to be an immediate standout track; it’s the kind of song that could go down as a generational anthem with lyrics like “Raised on Biggie and Nirvana, we are the New Americana.”

Because five songs were released before the album itself, the hype had grown even more to hear what Halsey had been so excited to get out into the world.

Halsey is an incredible songwriting talent. “Colors” compares a man to blue, then gray, but goes back to say he was red before her.

“He’s so devoid of color,” she sings, while comparing him to the color gray. His red turned her blue into purple, she explains, before he decided purple wasn’t for him. It’s hard to describe the impact of these lyrics just in writing, it’s something you need to experience.

“Strange Love” is on the sassier side as far as Halsey’s songs go, but musically it’s the kind of fun indie-pop with repetitive hooks and easy-to-remember lyrics that are so popular lately. “Control” opens with eerie notes, but turns into the kind of song that gives goosebumps just from listening to it when she sings “I’m bigger than my body, I’m colder than this home, I’m meaner than my demons, I’m bigger than these bones.”

“Roman Holiday” brings to mind a relationship that couldn’t go on past a certain date, perhaps a summer romance. The way Halsey uses sound in certain songs, like “Drive,” for example, makes the song, and the emotion behind it, feel even more real.

Do yourself a favor and take a listen to BADLANDS. It’s the kind of album that doesn’t come along too often, one where there is not one terrible song on it. There’s nothing skip worthy about any of the sixteen songs.

Its eye opening lyrically, and ear opening musically. It’s indie pop music at its absolute finest.