ALBUM REVIEW: Halsey – Badlands

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Halsey fronts a new wave of celebrity through famous association and having a strong social media presence. Her raw talent is what has captivated people with lead single “Ghost” receiving praise from music industry heavyweights and fans alike. Her debut album “Badlands” is an indie-pop affair that transports you back to your teenage years and will have you relating to her descriptive and powerful lyrics. For a debut album you can’t help but be a bit impressed with this release. The production is on the majority of tracks is immaculate with somber ballad “Drive” being a perfect example of this. However this album sometimes loses its honesty and genuine feeling with the overproduction taking away the raw emotion. There’s no denying that Halsey is a powerful vocalist and she belts out some incredible high notes showcasing a unique versatility but we never get to hear a stripped down, raw side of her. On her debut EP “Room 93” she had me captivated with “Trouble” which is a simple and stripped down track by her vocal delivery and vivid imagery. This album doesn’t give me that same feeling. It’s like a big production movie, with all the theatrics and built up emotion but the real heart is hard to decipher at times. The album’s strongest track is the visual “Colors” that had me with my hands over my mouth… I was that impressed. The songs production is on point, the hook is infectious, the lyrics paint a visual picture and basically this is her best track. “Everything was blue; his pills, his hands, his jeans and now I’m covered in the colors pulled apart at the seams, and it’s blue”. It explores the break down of a relationship using the significance of colors to reflect emotions. The deluxe edition offers a Part II which is a dubstep influenced instrumental that offers an interesting take on the track. Closely followed is the self-expression anthem “Gasoline”. Her vocal delivery is seductively enticing and will have you joining her army. “Do the people whisper ‘bout you on the train like me? Saying that you shouldn’t waste your pretty face like me?”. Other highlights on this release include “Strange Love”, “New Americana”, and “Haunted”. At Sixteen tracks long (Deluxe Edition) it does begin to sound repetitive with some common musical ideas being recycled. She was quoted saying that she wants all her fans to have sex for the first time to “Young God” and I couldn’t think of something less I would want to do. Also I’m very unsure how I feel about her cover of Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line”….. it’s an interesting choice. This is however a strong debut record and if you still haven’t discovered Halsey then it’s about time you do.

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