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Review: “Badlands”

by Katie Williams, Editor-in-Chief

photo by Autumn Kinner

Halsey released her debut album, Badlands, on August 28. Halsey is a 21 year old alternative singer songwriter who exploded onto the music scene with the release of single, “Ghost”, through SoundCloud. She then released her EP, “Room 93” in 2014. “Badlands” came one year later.

Badlands begins with “Castle,” a song that begins with Halsey singing about being “sick of all these people talking, sick of all this noise, tired of all these cameras flashing, sick of being poised.” Halsey is opening the album with talking about being sick of fame, which is very unusual for an album opener. This song starts off with a very quiet ringing noise before entering a deep bass beat that sets the tone for the song.

“New Americana” is one of Halsey’s singles from Badlands. It is about the new generation coming into their twenties right now. She calls this generation “The New Americana,” and says they were raised “on Biggie and Nirvana,” making references to popular artists during her growing up. This song uses other voices, not just Halsey, to seem more like Halsey is not alone in the New Americana. “Hurricane” is a very powerful song on this record. Halsey tells the story of a man living down in Bed-Stuy, who takes girls of eighteen and “he turns them out like tricks.” For the rest of the song, she describes herself as a hurricane that belongs nowhere and to no one. “Ghost,” was a song that Halsey released in 2014 on her “Room 93” EP in 2014. She talks of how she misses her ghost and why she misses the soul he used to be. The song both starts and ends with Halsey singing quietly, a very different comparison from the chorus in which she is almost desperate to find her old love in the bed next to her.

“Gasoline” is a song on this record with a main emphasis on the lyrics. It has a very electronic sound, as it is describing how every one of us is “part of a machine.” Halsey talks of how she never felt like a real human and how she always feels excluded from the public. Though she tries to be different and celebrate those differences, “everyone” says how she is part of a machine and cannot be different. She even talks of how she thinks “there’s a fault in my code.” She has bought into the idea that she is a machine with faulty coding and that is why she feels different. This song is quiet until it reaches the chorus. Once the chorus is reached, the music increases and the bass gets much louder. Halsey’s lyrics transition from quiet singing, to a louder, harsher tone.

This album flows incredibly well from track to track. It’s well done and shows incredible promise for her. Halsey has done an amazing job for a debut album. She will continue to amaze us with her incredible talent in the future.

GRADE: A