Good afternoon interneters!
Today is June 2nd, 2017, and therefore a good day as Halsey’s album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom has been released! I’m here to review it for all who want to know a millennial music fan’s opinion on the album. Anyway, let’s get to it!
OVERALL GRADE: 4.5/5
As a whole, the album is extremely cohesive and well thought out. The theme is clear and cleverly presented. Each track extends the idea of hopeless love affairs, while also connecting to each other in various ways. Let’s break this review down track for track.
TRACK 1 – The Prologue: The album starts off with the recital of the prologue to Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare, which is appropriate considering Halsey has stated before that the album’s theme is based around the famous playwright’s legendary tragedy. She then continues the track with original lyrics, shaping the tone she will have for the rest of the album.
TRACK 2 – 100 Letters: The next track explores a former relationship in which Halsey finds her self remembering long after it’s over. The relationship may have ended due to the negative impact it had on her. The relationship was abusive, and Halsey describes her desire regarding the lost love: “I wish I never gave you anything.” He wants her back, but she refuses to go back to him.
TRACK 3 – Eyes Closed: To me, the order of songs matter in an album. This track is about Halsey not being able to get over a past lover as quickly as she would like to. Therefore, to put this song after 100 Letters, which is about wanting so badly to move on from somebody, Halsey shows how quickly her emotions can change. Whatever the relationship is, it clearly has a hold on Halsey. Also, the track is a bop.
TRACK 4 – Heaven In Hiding: Halsey moves on to describe a heated encounter with a past lover, of whom I believe to be the lover she couldn’t stop thinking about in Eyes Closed. She sings: “I’m breathing down your neck, your body’s screaming.” Heaven in Hiding explains how she went back to that lover and it was, well, glorious. The song is epic and once the chorus explodes Halsey belts: “Don’t you see what you’re finding? / This is heaven in hiding.” and “When you start to look at me, a physical fatality…” The lyrics express that Halsey has no time for conversation, just for physical interaction. Clearly, she is not committed to her lover on an emotional level. Therefore one must ask whether or not these encounter will continue. The next tracks will tell…
TRACK 5 – Alone: This track reveals that Halsey is independent, and is not committed to the Heaven her and her lover were finding through physical interaction. The track explains how Halsey has many lovers, in fact, and that she still feels alone despite all the people who want to see her and be with her. “You know everywhere I go I got a million people trying to kick it but I’m still alone,” The singer beautifully taunts over a simple beat. She doesn’t want to commit to anyone, which is what at least one of her lovers wants. Why doesn’t she want to commit? Because she believes if her lovers understood her completely, they would wish they never committed to her. However, she doesn’t explain much as to why that is the way she feels. At least not yet.
TRACK 6 – Now Or Never: Great track, makes sense as to why it was the first single. As to the album plot line, the song is a major curve ball, as it shows Halsey actually desperately wants a relationship with someone else, but is not willing to wait. Unlike Alone, Halsey shows her obsession with a lover, perhaps one she both can and can’t stand to let pass her by, and I believe this is another theme driver of the album as a whole. Halsey is a lover, one that changes her mind constantly. Any relationship feels like it’s “Now or Never”, which has a type of hopelessness to it, because if she truly loves like this, will she ever find a long-term relationship?
TRACK 7 – Sorry: A sad ballad to fit a sad apology. Halsey understands her way of loving is extremely selfish, and I feel this track is dedicated to all of the hearts she broken unjustly. “Cuz I can sometimes treat the people I love like jewelry” She sings over a muted piano medley. She continues to show how bad it makes her feel by describing that she still remembers personal things about the person she sings to: “But I still know your birthday and your mother’s favorite song.” She goes on to apologize to her lover, and it’s heartbreaking. These type of songs are my favorite on albums, and it may be my favorite of the album.
TRACK 8 – Good Mourning: This next track is transitional, and hopeful. It begins with a young voice stating that they are looking for a place of love and hope. Happy bells play in the background as the voice continues, stating that moon shouldn’t be trusted, as she is never constant, and then Halsey sings, repeating “The sun is coming up, oh my, oh my,” as the track fades. Halsey has not run out of hope in finding love quite yet.
TRACK 9 – Lie (feat. Quavo): Halsey changes the tone once again to show doubt in a relationship, and how if they don’t love her anymore, then they shouldn’t tell her and instead lie. This obviously is an unhealthy response, but it’s Halsey’s way of dealing with the situation. Unlike earlier in the album, Halsey is no longer in control. She is the one being betrayed. She’s getting a taste of her own medicine.
TRACK 10 – Walls Could Talk: Woah, what a track. This song shows Halsey moving on, kind of. After being denied by a previous lover, the singer goes off into an affair that is scandalous, in which, as she sings: “And I’m thinking, damn, if these walls could talk / Woah, they’d be like / ‘Woah, shit is crazy’ like / ‘Woah, I ain’t your baby no more.’/” She must have moved on her previous lover. This new lover is female too, I believe.
TRACK 11 – Bad At Love: I take this song as a reprise of Alone. Halsey explains how she can’t see her self in a relationship due to her history of bad relationships. She sings about several lovers, male and female. Some of these include “a boy back home in Michigan”, “a guy in the Garden State”, “a girl with California eyes”, and “a London girl with an attitude”. She seems to sing to each of them, stating as she did in Alone that she is independent and therefore bad at love. The track is also extremely impressive vocally, making it easily another favorite of mine.
TRACK 12 – Don’t Play: This track describes a bad relationship in which Halsey was being played, and her independent self wasn’t about to have any of it. “Motherfucker, don’t play with me.” She sings before a beat drop throughout the song. Once again, unlike earlier the album, Halsey is the one being betrayed. She finds new lovers in order to mend the situation, which is understandable given her past. The song definitely in the hopeless fountain kingdom theme. Toward the end of the track, she reveals that the lover that tested her is most likely male, as she sings: “Women don’t play no games.” Maybe the new lovers she found were mostly, if not all, women? #Pride2k17
TRACK 13 – Strangers (feat. Lauren Jauregui): Another great track! This song shows a relationship between Halsey and another female. (Jauregui) There is a miscommunication that tears the relationship apart, despite both characters seemingly wanting more. Jauregui’s voice mixes extremely well with Halsey’s, making this a nice sounding LGBT bop. Once again, #Pride2k17! This song fits well on the album as well, as it is hopeless and very unfortunate.
TRACK 14 – Angel On Fire: This song shows that Halsey has changed. She used to be the one in charge, the center of attention, and now, as she sings, “nobody cares what I think.” She goes on to explain how she used to be on fire, but now she’s faded away. An extremely hopeless message, the song fits well with where it is on the album. Her tone is defeated and in some ways, conquered. Vocals on this song are very impressive as well.
TRACK 15 – Devil In Me: After being conquered as an angel, Halsey shows that she has fallen and rises again as a devil. She doesn’t want to become evil, but the betrayals and destruction done both by her and to her in the hopeless fountain kingdom has scarred her permanently. She decides she must become a devil and that she must be heartless in order to survive. The song is very dark and powerful.
TRACK 16 – Hopeless (feat. Cashmere Cat): The closing song sums up the effects of the kingdom on Halsey. She has grown hopeless. The hope that once existed in track 8, Good Mourning, have faded thanks to all the times Halsey was betrayed. The idea of the fountain comes into play here, as this feeling I believe is one Halsey will feel cycle throughout her life as long as she remains in the kingdom.
Alright, there you have it, my review! It did not receive a perfect score simply because it wasn’t as game-changing in my mind. That being said, it is an extremely respectable album with several great tracks showing the progression of Halsey’s abilities in comparison to her first album, Badlands. Not only did she write all the tracks, she also produced each of them, and will direct any videos that accompany the project. That is extremely respectable!
Thank you for checking out my review! Till next time,