OH MY GOODNESS.
My first blog post was about Halsey’s debut album BADLANDS. Today she released her second LP called hopeless fountain kingdom and I am going to try my very best to review this musical gem.
The first three tracks, including her lead single Now or Never, which were all released prior to the album already indicated that there would be a change of sound on her sophomore record. With that being said, I would still call this an Alternative album if I had to choose a genre. I do, however, feel like many songs are heavily influenced by Pop music from the 90s/80s e.g. Strangers (ft. Lauren Jauregui). The funny thing for me is that it actually works. A ‘fusion’ of genres can either go terribly wrong or be absolutely brilliant and leave a mark on the music industry. In Halsey’s case it is going to be the latter.
If I were to describe hfk in one sentence I would say that the album is an introduction to the Kingdom, a new era, and a reminder of where she’s coming from, the Badlands. According to the vibes I get from listening to the record, songs like 100 Letters, Don’t Play or Angel On Fire perfectly showcase the new aspect to her music, while tracks like Bad At Love and Devil In Me seem to have BADLANDS’ footprint on them – both lyrically and sonically. In one of her interviews, Halsey mentioned that she listened to a lot of Britney Spears’s music while making this album and if I had to pick a song that reflects that influence, I would choose Walls Could Talk. I’m getting major Destiny’s Child/Britney Spears vibes which I never thought I would ever say about a Halsey track. But if there is anyone who can make that kind of music work without losing themselves in what originally served as an inspiration, I guess it is Halsey (and Rihanna).
I am surprised that her collaborations do not distract from the rest of the album. Often times I feel like songs that other artists feature on stick out amongst the other tracks. However, Lie (ft. Quavo), Strangers (ft. Lauren Jauregui) and Hopeless (ft. Cashmere Cat) perfectly support the core of this album, rather than distract from it. The biggest surprise, however, is her song Sorry, which had me crying. Something magical happens when there is only Halsey and the piano. Add some heartbreaking lyrics that hit you right in the feels and you are ready to ball your eyes out.
The only song that does not click for me is Alone. I love the lyrics, message and topic but I think that the melody (or everything else basically) distracts from what I perceive as a rather sad meaning of the song. To me, lyrics and production do not go hand in hand and therefore do not compliment each other.
Whether you like Halsey’s evolved sound or not, you cannot deny that she is an incredible songwriter. It is one of the main reasons why I consider BADLANDS a staple record in my collection. While I do find that some songs on hopeless fountain kingdom are quite straight forward, there are many tracks which were written in a poetic style that requires you to dissect the lyrics and put a little bit more thought into their interpretation. Just like last time, I would like to go through the track list and point out my favorite lines from each song:
hopeless fountain kingdom (Deluxe)
1 | The Prologue: “I’m a child of a money hungry, prideful country (…) hands so bloody, tastes like honey.”
2 | 100 Letters: “I find myself alone at night unless I’m having sex (…) But I don’t let him touch me anymore. I said ‘I’m not something to butter up and taste when you get bored.'”
3 | Eyes Closed: “Would’ve gave it all for you, cared for you. So tell me where I went wrong.”
4 | Heaven In Hiding: “I walk my talk, no time for wishful thinking (…) And you thought that you were the boss tonight but I can put up one good fight.”
5 | Alone: “I got a problem with parties ’cause it’s loud in my brain. And I can never say I’m sorry ’cause I won’t take the blame.”
6 | Now or Never: “Tryna talk to a wall but you could never tear it down for me.”
7 | Sorry: “Sorry that I can’t believe that that anybody ever really starts to fall in love with me (…) And so it seems I broke your heart, my ignorance has struck again. I failed to see it from the start and tore you open ’til the end.”
8 | Good Mourning: “All I know is a hopeless place that flows with the blood of my kin. Perhaps hopeless isn’t a place, nothing but a state of mind.”
9 | Lie (ft. Quavo): “Breakfast is cold, as cold as our bed.”
10 | Walls Could Talk: “Told my new roommate not to let you in but you’re so damn good with a bobby pin. Now you gon’ play me like a violin.”
11 | Bad at Love: “And he told me we wouldn’t make it ’til we graduate. So I told him music would be worth the wait but he wants me in the kitchen with a dinner plate.”
12 | Don’t Play: “Tryna take back what you say to me. I don’t give a damn what you say to me, there ain’t no time for games with me.”
13 | Strangers (ft. Lauren Jauregui): “(…) with the same damn hunger to be touched, to be loved to feel anything at all.”
14 | Angel On Fire: “‘Cause nobody seems to ask about me anymore and nobody seems to care ’bout what I think and nobody seems to recognize me in the crowd.”
15 | Devil In Me: “Gotta wake up, gotta come back to life.”
16 | Hopeless (ft. Cashmere Cat): “Gimme those eyes, it’s easy to forgive.”
I hope my review gave you an insight into Halsey’s album and that you will listen to it even if some of my words might have put you off. After all, my interpretations are not a universal language – you need to find your own. Please let me know what you think of hopeless fountain kingdom, especially if you have known Halsey prior to her success with Closer.