Sunday 30 August 2015

BADLANDS Album Review Track By Track: Halsey

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Hey guys!
So, two days ago Halsey released her debut album, BADLANDS. Do you ever listen to an album for the first time and feel a sort of relief, like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders? Some music is just that great. I've been loving Halsey for a while now, and couldn't wait for a full album to be released instead of a short EP (don't get me wrong though, Room 93 is an incredible EP that I have blasted through my room many times). I don't think I've felt this way about an album since the first time I listened to Fearless, so naturally, I thought I'd review it - the Deluxe Edition of course.
Track 1 - Castle 8/10
The opening track to Badlands, with an instant dark vibe that sets the scene for the rest of the songs. This is a perfect way to start the album, an introduction to her world, like the drawbridge has been opened and we've entered, you guessed it, her castle. The beat pulses with energy, and it hints to a fact that becomes concrete later on - Halsey is a little bit different to your average pop artist.
//I'm heading straight for the castle, they wanna make me their Queen//
Track 2 - Hold Me Down 9/10
Without a doubt this is in my top three. This is one of the most relatable tracks, banishing a bad habit that haunts us and shapes us, even if we so badly want it not to. The first ten seconds of this track are beautiful, the collection of notes strung together so wonderfully (I'm not a music reviewer this is difficult, please send help).
//Ignite me, licking at the flames that they bring about//
Track 3 - New Americana 9/10
I feel like this song sends a completely different vibe to the rest, and is possibly the most Pop-y on the album. It's her most listened-to song on Spotify, so it clearly goes down well with the masses. All about the young generation, and how bowing down to the style of past generations is just not in our nature. This is so very Halsey, who would never conform to someone else's views. Definitely the crème de la crème of catchiness.
//We know very well who we are, so we hold it down when summer starts//

Track 4 - Drive 7/10
This begins with a car indicator sound effect, and the car theme is continued the whole way through, giving the song a unique difference. It's one of the slower songs, which instantly makes you listen harder, and the lyrics in this one are just beautiful.
//And California never felt like home to me, until I had you on the open road//

Track 5 - Hurricane 9/10
Straight from Room 93, and the first song I ever heard from Halsey, this will forever be one of my most memorable songs. It tells a powerful story of a girl who's lost her way but at the same time knows exactly who she is. This has a dream-like quality, and the song writing sets images alight inside your mind. This song is inspiring, and it tells us to ditch our labels and be whoever we want to be, because we're so much more than the labels another person sticks on our skin.
//I'm a wanderess, I'm a one night stand, don't belong to no city, don't belong to no man//

Track 6 - Roman Holiday 8/10
LOVE this song. One of the happier songs on the album, like, whatever will happen in the future will happen however we treat the present, so lets just run headfirst into time. It's so innocently joyful that you kind of forget that the true meaning of a Roman holiday is an occasion where enjoyment comes from the suffering of someone else - ouch. Then again, would a happy track really be Halsey if it didn't have a magical yet sinister twist?
//We'll be looking for sunlight, or the headlights, till our wide eyes burn blind//

Track 7 - Ghost 8/10
So fast paced and vibrant, it tells a tale of a romance that appeared perfect to begin with, but evolved into a confusing game when true colours were revealed and actions turned selfish and raw. The lyrics in this are so poignant and relatable to a relationship in everyone's past, and for me the best part about this is how the slow ballad-style beginning develops suddenly into a rollercoaster ride of ever-changing lyrics.
//You say that you're no good for me, cause I'm always tugging at your sleeve//

Track 8 - Colors 10/10
My favourite song off the album by a long way. The tick-tock of a countdown in the background adds a certain urgency to the track, a desperate message delivered to a former lover. You enter Halsey's mind and past when you listen to this, and its a lyrical masterpiece. There are no 'filler' lyrics in this one, everything is key. This track is followed by a Part II, a remixed, slowed down version with scattered repeats of lyrics that is so relaxing and essential to the album.
//Everything is blue, his pills, his hands, his jeans, and now I'm covered in the colors, pulled apart at the seams//

Track 9 - Strange Love (Explicit) 8/10
A secret lover that everyone is desperate for her to spill the beans about, but why should she? One of the sassier tracks where Halsey uses her album as a platform to address an issue she clearly feels important. Even if she's struck by fame, no one else is entitled to private details but her. It's lacking pieces of the story, but then again, isn't that the same for any good mystery?
//Everybody's waiting up to hear if I dare speak your name, put it deep beneath the track, like the hole you left in me//

Track 10 - Coming Down 7/10
I like the acoustics in this one a lot. When you listen to the album through the first time, this song gets lost in the power of the other songs. But, like a hidden gem, on the second listen it takes you by surprise. It might not be the best of the album, but Halsey's vocals carry this one all the way to the top. Of all the songs however, I feel like what you take from this one can differ person to person the most, as its so open to alternative interpretations.
//Now we're lost somewhere in outer space, in a hotel room where demons play//

Track 11 - Haunting 9/10
The steady beat and solid chorus makes this song extremely memorable (for me anyway). It resonates with many due to the relatable nature of the song, haunted by a past relationship that you just can't seem to shake. You get the impression that although she doesn't want to still think about her past lover, she doesn't mind, and this has the roots of what is essentially, a love, not a hate, song.
//'Cause I've done some things that I can't speak, and I've tried to wash you away but you just won't leave//

Track 12 - Gasoline (Explicit) 8/10
A letter to anyone who feels like they don't quite fit in ("I think there's a fault in my code"). The production is legendary, with a dip halfway through where a 'hurricane' is mentioned and is followed by a split second of the key melody in the song Hurricane. Not one of my favourites lyric wise, but I can recognise great music when I hear it. The chorus is so far separated from the rest of the song that its instantly distinguishable.
//Do the people whisper ‘bout you on the train like me? Saying that you shouldn't waste your pretty face like me?//

Track 13 - Control 8/10
A one-to-one discussion with inner demons, and learning the only way to banish them is to face them head on. It's the scariest of the tracks, one you might find lurking in the credits of a horror movie. Her demons 'control' her, and we witness a fight inside with this song. The lyrics add to the creepy energy of the track, and I feel like the album turns in a completely different direction at this point.
//And all the kids cried out, "Please stop, you're scaring me", I can't help this awful energy, Goddamn right, you should be scared of me - who is in control?//

Track 14 - Young God (Explicit) 7/10
Begin with blurred whispers, and a mysterious scene is set. I feel like this song is one of the weakest, but the chorus is creative and memorable, which boosts it. A few seconds over three minutes, this is a blink and you miss it song, which matches the tempo and the vibe, which has a dreamlike quality which sticks in your mind.
//He says, "Oh, baby girl, you know we're gonna be legends, I'm the king and you're the queen and we will stumble through heaven//

Track 15 - I Walk the Line 7/10
The last track on the deluxe album that I attempt to analyse despite the fact that I am not a music reviewer, nor is this a music orientated blog.
The piano makes an entrance in this track, and the slow-ish tempo turns this into a ballad. This is a romantic song, addressed to a lover, but displays lyrics that close the album well and summarise Halsey's experiences and how she treats life because of them. It talks about faith, and how finding the right person overrides aspects of your personality because of how you're tied to them.
//I keep a close watch on this heart of mine, I keep my eyes wide open all the time//

Overall I would give Badlands a 9/10, and although this review makes it appear that I'm pretty generous with my scorings, usually I assure you I am not, it just takes a special sort of album to make me feel this way. This is a beautiful, poignant album with interesting beats and brilliant lyrics that encourage you to immerse yourself in the tracks and never come back out.
Favourites: Hold Me Down, Colors, New Americana, Haunting

Please respect this post as I know the reviews aren't great, but its an aspect of blogging that I really want to improve, and I took such a lot of time and care planning and writing this post! I enjoyed writing this, so might do it again in the future if I find another album that hits me in the way that this one did. This album will 100% shoot Halsey into fame, and I wish her good fortune as she deserves it for releasing what I'm sure will be one of the most popular albums of 2015.

Have you heard this album yet? If so, what's your favourite song?
Emily xoxo

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