Last year singer/songwriter Halsey (aka Ashley Frangipane) wowed us and the music world with her EP Room 93, a small collection of dynamic and directly honest atmospheric pop songs, that made you wonder where she would go from there. The answer is her debut full-length album, Badlands, and we can’t wait to hear the sounds of her latest endeavor.
Halsey is back in full bloom: her renowned attitude flows through the veins of album opener Castle, igniting that addictive aura about her. While her hooks are often catching, her lyrics avoid the overused cliche you hear in most modern pop songs, the track New Americana is anthemic for today’s generation but lyrically it stands out from other anthems; “We are the New Americana, high on legal marijuana, raised on Biggie and Nirvana…” Hurricane makes a welcome return from Room 93, as well as breakthrough single Ghost, two of the favourites from the EP.
The closest to radio pop Halsey gets on the album is probably Colours, but there’s still something so unique to her about it that not just anyone could pull it off; then there’s the confronting Strange Love, the singer isn’t wrong when she said she’s brutally honest with her music, even about her sex life. The deluxe edition of Badlands includes an extra five tracks for your enjoyment, all of which really suit the sound of the album quite well; her cover of Johnny Cash’s Walk The Line was delivered nicely, tweaking it to her perfection.
You would be silly to deny that Halsey doesn’t have any talent, there is a reason why she was the most talked/tweeted about artist at this year’s SXSW, and it’s because she’s a phenomenal performer and songwriter. Badlands easily confirms the warranted hype surrounding Halsey and it’s just so confronting, atmospheric, autobiographical and addictive; this is an album that you’ll have on repeat from beginning to end, but do yourselves a favour and get your hands on the deluxe edition, the more Halsey the better. If Lorde and Ellie Goulding were going to write an album together, it would sound something along the lines of Badlands, but Halsey still stands out on her own.