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Music More Colorful than her Hair

Ashley Nicolette Frangipan, aka Halsey, well known for her colorful unique hair and electropop music, has blown up in popularity. Her stage name came from an anagram of her first name and a street she spent a lot of time on when she was young. Her musical start came from posting covers of songs on Youtube. She even did a parody of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble”. Her first album came out in 2014, and is called Room 93. She released two remix albums in 2015, for which she is currently on a North American tour.

From Room 93, my favorite songs are “My Ghost”, “Hurricane”, and “Empty Gold”. “My Ghost” has heavy bass drums that get your heart rate up, and get you swaying to the music. Some of the lyrics are rapped, and some sung, which gives it a unique effect of speeding up and slowing down.  

My ghost

Where’d you go?

I can’t find you in the body sleeping next to me

My ghost

Where’d you go?

What happened to the soul that you used to be?

 

“Hurricane” begins with a really far away sound, and is slow until it reaches the chorus, where it picks up the pace a bit. The most interesting thing about this song is the meaning in the lyrics, especially the chorus. It sends a message that Halsey is proclaiming her worth–she isn’t just a possession, but her own wild collection of individuality. 

I’m a wanderess

I’m a one night stand

Don’t belong to no city

Don’t belong to no man

I’m the violence in the pouring rain

 

“Empty Gold” is sort of a battle cry song. In the beginning there is the explanation of how life is. It picks up at ‘Feel like we’ve been falling down‘ with a heavier electronic influence, which makes it feel triumphant even though the lyrics state otherwise. 

Feel like we’ve been falling down

Like these autumn leaves.

But baby don’t let winter come,

Don’t let our hearts freeze.

 

If the morning light don’t steal our soul,

We will walk away from empty gold.

Dark as midnight sun,

Smoke as black as charcoal

Fills into our fragile lungs.

Cause when our demons come,

Dancing in the shadows,

To a game that can’t be won.

Her next album, Badlands came out in 2015 and was a huge hit.

One of Halsey’s most popular songs is “New Americana”. It shows the dark, courageous side of America’s youth. It is about making it with the richest, and how it perhaps comes at a cost.

Cigarettes and tiny liquor bottles,

Just what you’d expect inside her new Balenciaga.

Vile romance, turned dreams into an empire.

Self-made success now she rolls with Rockefellers.

Survival of the richest, the city’s ours until the fall.

They’re Monaco and Hamptons bound but we don’t feel like outsiders at all.

 

From the title of “Drive” you can tell it is a good road trip song. It is perfect for when you are leaving your hometown for the first time to go on an adventure. 

And California never felt like home to me

And California never felt like home

And California never felt like home to me

Until I had you on the open road and now we’re singing

Your laugh echoes down the hallway

Carves into my hollow chest,

Spreads over the emptiness

It’s bliss

 

The beginning instrumental of “Roman Holiday” sounds like the My Neighbor Totoro soundtrack. When her vocals first come in they are low, slow, and smooth sounding, making it sound secretive. Halsey sings the chorus in a higher voice which gives it a hopeful sound.

 

We’ll be looking for sunlight

Or the headlights

Till our wide eyes burn blind

We’ll be lacing the same shoes

That we’ve worn through

To the bottom of the line

And we know that we’re headstrong

And our heart’s gone

And the timing’s never right

But for now let’s get away

On a Roman holiday

 

“Colors” is by far my favorite song because the lyrics are so poetic, and meaningful. It shows the pain of changing for, or because of someone you love, and then being rejected because of it.

 

You were red and you liked me ’cause I was blue

You touched me and suddenly I was a lilac sky

And you decided purple just wasn’t for you

Everything is blue

His pills, his hands, his jeans

And now I’m covered in the colors

Pulled apart at the seams

And it’s blue

And it’s blue

Everything is grey

His hair, his smoke, his dreams

And now he’s so devoid of color

Doesn’t know what it means

And makes me blue

And makes me blue

 

The beginning of “Haunting” has a very electronic vibe where her vocals are heavily altered. It also has the characteristic slick sound that many of her songs have. Most of the lyrics are here because they are so poetic that they can be loved with or without the music.

 

I was as pure as a river

But now I think I’m possessed

You put a fever inside me

And I’ve been cold since you left

I’ve got a boyfriend now and he’s made of gold

And you’ve got your own mistakes in a bed at home

I’m hoping you could save me now but you break and fold

You’ve got a fire inside but your heart’s so cold

‘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

So won’t you take a breath and dive in deep

‘Cause I came here so you’d come for me

I’m begging you to keep on haunting

I’m begging you to keep on haunting me

I’m begging you to keep on haunting

I know you’re gonna keep on haunting me

We walk as tall as the skyline

And we have roots like the trees

But then your eyes start to wander

‘Cause they weren’t looking at me

You weren’t looking for me

I love the sound of “Gasoline”! Where the chorus starts it feels so mechanical yet it flows in a really elegant way. It isn’t choppy just because it’s mechanical.  I could just listen to this part on repeat.

And all the people say,

“You can’t wake up, this is not a dream,

You’re part of a machine, you are not a human being,

With your face all made up, living on a screen,

Low on self esteem, so you run on gasoline.”

 

“Young Gods” sounds very sexy. It has a mood like looking over the city lights at night. It is very slow and relaxed. I love the second half of the song, where the chorus is sung with a softer sound, and echoes. It has some heavier electronic influence after the second chorus. 

 

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

If there’s a light at the end, it’s just the sun in your eyes

I know you wanna go to heaven but you’re human tonight”

And I’ve been sitting at the bottom of a swimming pool

For a while now, drowning my thoughts out with sounds

He says “Oh, baby girl, don’t get cut on my edges

I’m the king of everything and oh, my tongue is a weapon

 

As mentioned earlier, Halsey’s real name is Ashley. She started out covering songs on YouTube. Here are some of her original works from this time period. 

“Tilt You Back” has acoustic guitar, and a lower recording quality. However, the making of the song allows you to appreciate Ashley’s voice more than when it is electronically edited. It has a more natural sound, and a relatable message about unrequited love. 

I saw two faces in the light, of a dead end street.

Begged them for a smoke and we started to speak.

Counting bricks in the wall, and my voice cracks,

I said “You see I’ve got this boy, and he don’t love me back.”

So we walked for a bit, and Jesse grabs me hard,

he said “Come back down to earth from wherever you are.”

But his words don’t register, I’m lost in your eyes.

And this dial tone will kill me by the end of night.

 

“You(th)” sounds like an Of Monsters and Men song. It sounds very triumphant, but is far too short. 

If you need me you can find me on the roof

Where I pretend that all my problems are beneath me

And I’m worried that I’ll jump but I never do

To be honest I just think I like the view

Question:

What song would you listen to driving down a dark road with the people (or person) you feel closest to?

 

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