by Danielle Holian
She is different. She is an icon. She shines throughout ‘Badlands’. Halsey is an alter-ego of Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, a 21-year-old singer-songwriter.
Halsey’s debut album, ‘Badlands’, is exciting. It’s unique to the alternative-pop genre of the music scene. It’s something new. Something completely different. It’s raw and aggressive. Her lyrics are witty, unapologetic and uncensored. It deals with issues like addiction and sacrifice. The energy is weighed down by the clichéd lyrics, but the raw and graphic storylines make the record more fascinating rather than a combined movement with the music.
‘Castle’, the opening track exercises a mediocre attempt at social commentary with its dull vocals. Her voice heightens the urgency which captures the rawness of her soul with the pounding melodies on ‘Ghost’. ‘New Americana’ is a track which is a potential anthem for generations trying to somehow define themselves: “We are the new Americana / High on legal marijuana / Raised on Biggie and Nirvana / We are the new Americana.” But in ‘Colors’ it’s an insincere hackneyed song which frequently seems more personal compared to any other track on ‘Badlands’, as her emotions shine more on this track.
This album is a confession on her behalf, which lets the listener into her blunt previous encounters in life. She deals with the conflict of self-doubt in ‘Hold Me Down’ which is her acknowledgment that she finally wants to break free from what holds her back.
Although ‘Badlands’, seems like she’s ‘selling [my] soul to a three-piece’ there is a light-hearted song ‘Roman Holiday’ on the record which has a fun upbeat vibe to it, with its catchy chorus lines like: “And our heart’s gone / And the timing’s never right / But for now let’s get away / On a Roman holiday.” She is straightforward and honest with her music.
From the beginning of the album to its finish, there’s a revolution going on. There’s plenty to rave about. She paints pictures in the listener’s head about the emptiness, loss, and sorrow which is drenched with intoxicating hope and love.