The debut and concept album Badlands has finally been released on iTunes and Spotify, after a long wait for Halsey fans. Singer-songwriter Ashley Frangipane, who goes by the stage name Halsey, (an anagram of her name as well as a street she lived on) is 21 (we share the same birthday, September 29) and originally from New Jersey, majoring in writing in college. Frangipane’s songs are usually based on her own state of mind, telling stories of many of her own life experiences in New York, describing “the Badlands” as a code name for the unhealthy life experiences she once encountered while living there.
Badlands was produced by Astralwerks and Capitol records, and dropped on August 28, 2015. The album starts with a powerful, techno-based track titled “Castle” about the current discography of Halsey and her current role in the media with her fan base (“I’m headed straight for the castle, they wanna make me their queen.”) The song points out that once someone gains recognition, they are going to have to listen to people that respond negatively, and that “there’s no use crying about it.”
The lead single “New Americana” speaks of decisions that American adolescents can commonly make in this generation, and the positives and negatives tied into them. “Colors” is about Ashley’s past relationship with a man told symbolically in different colors (“You were red, and you liked me ‘cause I was blue.”)
One of my favorite songs on the album is “Coming Down,” which describes Frangipane’s many past relationships with different lovers throughout a chunk of time and the various lessons they taught her. The track is very acoustic and laid back, but very colorful with confident flow. The album is overall very well-progressed with most tracks standing out to me, ending with a well put together cover of “I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash (on the super deluxe edition only). Badlands even comes with an exclusive trailer narrated by Frangipane herself that can be found on Youtube and Vevo, describing the main synopsis of the album as an introduction.
Although a lot of the material is repetitive musically and lyrically with similar themes about feminist power and an overall traditional pop-based sound, Badlands will have people all over the country relating to many of Halsey’s powerful lyrics about what it means to be an everyday human in all situations such as relationships with others. I am very happy for Frangipane, supporting her since her EP, room 93, was released last December. I encourage anyone interested to give Badlands a listen; I guarantee you will have it on repeat!