ALBUM REVIEW: Halsey – Hopeless Fountain Kingdom
Halsey is one of the most interesting popstars in the game right now and she’s making herself a household name through her overly active fan interaction, visual masterpieces, reflective songs and empowering messages. Her sophomore studio album “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom” sees her departing her alt-pop regime and heading towards an arena ready pop sound. This concept album follows the loose storyline of Romeo And Juliet by introducing two characters called Luna and Solis who are from two rival houses (The House Of Aureum and The House Of Angelus) and follow them throughout their complicated love story. The album opens with “The Prologue” where she reads the opening Monologue from Romeo And Juliet to set the theme and then launches straight into the synth ballad “100 Letters” which sets the preface for heartbreak. “But I don’t let him touch me anymore. I said I’m not something to butter up and taste when you get bored cause I have spent too many nights on dirty bathroom floors”. The album then goes into the dark synth-pop anthems “Eyes Closed” and “Now Or Never” which both have groovy RNB elements to them which make them perfect for radio. “Heaven In Hiding” gets grittier with the production before “Alone” becomes the big pop moment you were waiting for. Both of these songs look at each characters perspective of a house party they attended but the production on “Alone” is a little bit more Gatsby-like and will leave you very impressed. She then strips it down for one of the albums other main highlights, a raw and beautiful ballad called “Sorry”. This bold track hears Halsey putting the focus on her vocals instead of the production which is one of the first times we have heard her do this. It’s an intimate and honest track that looks at how she pushes away love interests because of her insecurities. She then introduces a brief interlude called “Good Mourning” which experiments with a child-like nursery rhyme sound hinting at new beginnings. “Lie”, “Walls Could Talk” and “Bad At Love” follow and show her experimenting with the RNB sound she slightly tapped into earlier. It’s a sound that actually suits her and is quite playful. However “Don’t Play” is a bit too experimental and cringe worthy with it’s try-hard production. But “Strangers” does the opposite and offers you the most pop influenced track and will have you VIBING with it’s euphoric sound.
However the final 3 songs are a bit of a blur of monotonous synth pop that didn’t really bring anything too game changing to the table. A bit of an anti-climatic finish because of how strong the first half of the album was. I literally couldn’t fault it. The second half started strong but ended feeling rushed and uninspired. The idea behind this album was bold, inventive and commendable and she nearly flawlessly executed it. She’s grown so much as a vocalist, a songwriter and an artist. “Badlands” was a brave debut that was edgy, raw and innovative but “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom” sees her maturing and reflecting on life while delivering big pop songs that will fill arenas. This is going to be an album which comfortably sits in most of the Top 10 Albums of 2017 lists; so welcome to her kingdom.