Badland by Halsey debuts a stunning album

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Badland by Halsey debuts a stunning album

Payton Reid, Reporter

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   The debut album Badlands, by 20-year old singer and New Jersey native known by her stage name, Halsey, is designed to take you on a journey to the emotional places we tend to steer clear of. The opening song titled Castle sets the overall tone for the other fifteen tracks that follow, including the previously released singles Hold Me Down and New Americana that have gained this artist momentum in recent months.

    Halsey’s melodic, electro-pop sound was first introduced to the public last year with her EP Room 93 that has had fans on the edge of their seats for her album release in late August. A month later, Badlands has dropped from the Top 5 on the iTunes charts, but easily remains in the Top 10, solidifying her success heavily driven by her vocal strength and powerful message of independence mixed carefully with confidence. Produced by Astralwerks which tends to specialize in dance music took a turn for the dark side of pop when agreeing to work with Halsey along with Capitol Records. Astralwerks is known for producing bands such as The Kooks to Robbie Williams, and everywhere in between. Halsey falls somewhere in the middle of these outliers, since Badlands has a wide range of sounds within itself.

    Being a fan of Room 93, I thoroughly enjoyed Badlands to the point of purchasing tickets to the nearly sold out Seattle concert this November at the ShowBox Sodo. This album definitely lived up to the high expectations as well as managed to create an entire community that supports the idea this concept record portrays as it progresses through debatable storyline. While many have different ideas about what exactly the story is, it paints the image of a dirty, grimy, futuristic city that is romanticized to represent the shreds of happiness in this imaginary hopeless place. Halsey, in recent weeks, has been dropping information on social media (Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter) about special access to her upcoming shows, private performances, and hints to the real story behind the world of the badlands which she has created. Despite the technical debut being a month ago, this album grows every day and progresses as a concept record even further. Halsey keeps the surprises coming with an extremely reimagined version of Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line” with it’s lyrics that contrasts with her previous songs but perfectly flows with the rest of this album. Castle, particularly stands out with the lyric “there’s an old man sitting on the throne that’s saying I should probably keep my pretty mouth shut” which fearlessly questions the common patriarchal and misogynistic ideals Halsey is known for facing bluntly.

    “Those are the Badlands, we don’t go there” has become a fan favorite catchphrase after Halsey tweeted it just before the album’s release which captures the initial idea of exploring emotional places a vast majority of people choose to avoid.  Soon following that statement, “make 2015 the year of the Badlands” began encouraging those who avoid the darker places to welcome them warmly and be at peace with the things no one talks about. After the success Badlands has had, I have high hopes for Halsey in the future as she gains well deserved popularity and continues to break norms in the music industry.

 

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