Sunday, 11 October 2015

My Music Obsession: You're Listening to Badlands Radio

'Badlands' by Halsey - Track by Track

Badlands plays out much like a story. All of the songs seem to link in some way, from themes to snippets of melody that return in later songs. It is about love, but has a much darker twist in contrast to mainstream pop which comes through in Halsey's powerful lyrics and fresh voice.

Castle sets the tone for the album with it's creepy sound and echoing choir of voices. It promises a mission to be fulfilled, and is the perfect opening song as it merely introduces the album without giving too much away of what is to come. Hold Me Down follows on from this but with a stronger, steadier beat, pushing the album forward.

The key themes of the album really come through in New Americana, promoting a need for escape and freedom that relates to the younger generation. This contrasts with Drive, which is calmer than the previous songs - with fewer layers in the music the focus is really on Halsey's voice.

Hurricane indicates a shift in the tone of the album and is followed by Roman Holiday. This song stands out for me because it is filled with hope and has a more optimistic outlook than the other songs. The bridge of the song itself feels like an adventure - moving away from the darkness of the past and into the sunlight.

Ghost was the first Halsey song I heard and is filled with questioning lost love. Even though she is still with the person she sings about, they are no longer fully the person they once were, and it is this kind of depth in music that I haven't seen in many young artists.

I love colour analogies, so Colors was an instant favourite. With some of the most beautiful lyrics seen on this album, vibrant imagery pours out of this song as the once bright relationship in the song begins to fade to grey.
You were red, and you liked me because I was blue
But you touched me, and suddenly I was a lilac sky
Then you decided purple just wasn't for you
Colors, Pt. 2 is a floating instrumental which Halsey herself described as "a dream sequence [...] a hallucination, a memory", and it reflects the sadness of the previous song. The gritty and shocking contrast of Strange Love highlights Halsey's honesty as a singer and how she refuses to care about the gossip, instead putting all of her thoughts and emotions out there into her music.
“My honesty about the negative elements of my personality is what gives me a tremendous amount of freedom. If I have so much freedom as an artist, I’m not worried about anything coming out. Not worried about being exposed, not worried about something [destroying] my reputation because I put it all out there anyway to begin with."
Halsey continues to play with the mythical in Coming Down, and Haunting links back to many of the previous songs on the album, pulling together the memories of the past and not wanting to part with it, with the music flowing like the river her lyrics depict. This flowing music follows into Gasoline, which is edgier and has an almost robotic chorus, demonstrating a rebellion against society's expectations. A glimpse of the melody in Hurricane is repeated in this song, showing how this constantly moving album was carefully crafted to link all back together. The spooky music of Control is that of a horror movie, with the lyrics slowly becoming less apologetic for her flaws and starting to own them.

Young God tells the story of two people who feel above everything, and the song has a floating sound that reflects this. The album concludes with I Walk the Line, perfectly summarising how she is between two extremes, much like the album itself.

All of the music on the album is excellently produced and the lyrics are filled with such brutal honesty that one cannot help but fall in love with them. There is not a single weak track on the album - they all blend perfectly together, yet stand apart as masterpieces on their own.

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