Halsey had one of the most immersive and exciting debuts from recent memory when she dropped her highly successful Badlands album in 2015. With a futuristic dystopian society backdrop, Halsey’s experimental pop sounds told the story of her escaping her mental demons and leaving the Badlands of her mind. The edgy songstress seemed to blow up overnight with numerous hit singles and later collaborating with The Chainsmokers for a song that wouldn’t escape the charts or radios for most of 2016 (You can probably still hear the melodramatic earworm on the radio).
When artists have an insanely successful debut album there’s always fear of a sophomore slump, where the artist that once ruled the charts falls into the pits of irrelevancy. But I had no doubt that Halsey had more stories to tell and with her refreshing perspective on creating and sharing her art, I was anxious to hear what was next. With teases that the sophomore effort Hopeless Fountain Kingdom will be a concept album that sticks to her alternative pop sound with a stronger bid for radio it seems like Halsey has found her style and is ready to bring all her hard work into fruition later this year (June 2nd to be exact).
Yesterday the neon blue haired goddess gave us the first taste of Hopeless Fountain Kingdom with the first single “Now or Never” (Sidenote: Halsey’s signature do reminds me of Emica, the fictional pop star that was idolized by the kids from Rugrats… tell me you see the resemblance). Produced by Benny Blanco and Cashmere Cat, “Now Or Never” is a brooding bop about star-crossed lovers that have a love destined to end. The R&B leaning track is definitely one of Halsey’s most catchy singles to date with lyrics that are waiting to be stuck in your head,
“Never pick up / never call me / You know we’re runnin’ out of time / Never pick up when you want me / Now I gotta draw a line / Baby I’m done / done enough talking / Need to know that you’re mine / Baby we done / Done enough talking / Gotta be right now / Right now.”
The only strong criticism I have for “Now Or Never” is the VERY similar beat structure to Rihanna’s anthem for all the girls with hearts that turned cold “You Needed Me” especially when the chorus hits. All I hear is Rihanna declaring “You needed me,” whenever I hear it and while most popular songs have similar BPMs and production so your brain can easily become hooked to it, “You Needed Me” is too new to be an influence for future bops.
With a solid song and a stunning visual directed by Halsey and Sing J Lee, I’m sure the radio is going to eat this slow jam up and the hits to come with Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. Halsey revealed to Rolling Stone the influence her past relationship had on the emotional story for the pair of lovers centered around this album and I’m so ready to dig deeper into this most likely tragic tale.
“The whole reason you make a record,” she says, “is to figure stuff out about yourself.” She had been nursing a mysterious obsession with the story of Romeo and Juliet, which she finally connected to a feeling that “I had killed off a version of myself just so we could make our love work. Sometimes you’re in a relationship for so long and you become a different person. You lose yourself because you change for that person.” In the end, she says, “I put the seal on that relationship and fully purged myself of the feelings for that person at the same time as I finished my record.” – Rolling Stone Interview
Are you feeling “Now Or Never”? Let me know in the comments!
Pre-order Hopeless Fountain Kingdom on iTunes HERE: https://itun.es/us/JZM0ib
Stream “Now Or Never” Below:
Apple Music: HERE