Halsey, 21-year-old singer/songwriter and fantastic lyricist, referred to her album, Badlands, as an “angry feminist record” in an interview with Teen Vogue. Each song on Badlands and her EP, Room 93, is written about Halsey’s personal experiences involving relationships, feminism, youth, and mental illness. The overall sound gives off an ethereal and wistful atmosphere, all the while offering a strong message of empowerment and liberation through the lyrics.
Halsey, a.k.a Ashley Frangipane, is the embodiment of the empowered woman with her bold fashion choices and vibrant blue hair. She’s become a role model for her fans by being so comfortable with her identity as a biracial woman who is openly bisexual and struggles with bipolar disorder. Because of her unique identity, so many people are able to relate to her and her music. She was brought up in a diverse environment, listening to several different genres of music, and is able to bring that diversity into her music and persona. Halsey, influenced by Alanis Morissette, aimed to express a youthful “angst” with her album, Badlands. In her Teen Vogue interview, she states, “So instead of writing a longing, sad girl album, I decided I was going to write an angry album.” With so many songs out there about heartbreak, it’s definitely refreshing to welcome an artist who actually has something to say.
To further sway you into the Halsey fandom, here are some of her best songs and powerful lyrics.
Halsey’s “Hurricane” declares a feminine liberation. The chorus, “I’m a wanderess, I’m a one night stand, don’t belong to no city, don’t belong to no man,” presents a strikingly beautiful concept that a woman is not bound to a place or person. She is free to wander on her own and doesn’t need to depend on anyone else.
I’m just guessing here but it kinda sounds like she’s talking about the patriarchy. The lyrics, “I’m headed straight for the castle,” show her determination to rise up in power. The lyrics, “there’s an old man sitting on the throne that’s saying that I should probably keep my pretty mouth shut,” suggest a patriarchal rule that aims to keep her inferior. This can be interpreted as the plight of the woman who has had enough with stereotypical gender roles or even flat-out discrimination and is determined to empower herself.
Halsey spoke about this song once, explaining how it is about an abusive relationship and the eventual empowerment of the woman as she has finally had enough at the end. The “menace” in her bed is her partner who physically abuses her. The woman is obviously reluctant to leave him but eventually makes up her mind and sticks to her intent. This inspirational song expresses a courage that a lot of women in that situation can look up to. While other artists are singing about meaningless heartbreak or singing party anthems, Halsey is touching on reality. She is drawing from her own experiences and offering her outlook to the world.
Image by Justin Higuchi.