Early this year, Halsey told Rolling Stone that her debut album, Badlands, was never supposed to be “a radio record.” But it was. That’s why on her sophomore record, she took what she had and just ran with it. hopeless fountain kingdom is another concept album. The story centers on two lovers in a limbo-like realm that connects to the futuristic setting of Badlands. Much of hopeless fountain kingdom is radio-ready. Unlike her debut work, which she describes in concert as “alternative music disguised as pop music,” the follow-up is even more pleasing. While keeping the same style yet centering on a heavier pop-focused approach, Halsey is ready to take on the world. And I think you might want to find out why.
Beginning with a “prologue” track where Halsey offers a narrative spoken-word dialogue, the album then suspends into the impressive “100 Letters” and follows with “Eyes Closed.” These first three tracks are a diverse takeaway compared to Badlands; they all highlight the best qualities of Halsey’s music yet go big in their sound. It isn’t actually until track four, “Heaven In Hiding,” that we are offered the most Badlands-like track, almost similar to “Roman Holiday” or “Castle.”
Perhaps the first intriguing song is “Alone,” giving off a classical, ballroom vibe that perfectly exhibits Halsey’s improved vocals. The entire track is a direct representation of maturity and growth within her music. The first song that was released from the album, “Now or Never,” didn’t please as much as it did when I listened to hopeless fountain kingdom in full. The song sits between “Alone” and “Sorry,” which serves it as the ‘divider track.’ “Sorry” is an emotional slow build-up that displays as a ballad.
The entire album thrills emotion and is defying pop music algorithms yet might be the most surprisingly poppy thing released in 2017. The latter of the album is more pop-focused than the first half; seeing as “Walls Could Talk” being a definite radio single in the near future. With guest features from Quavo, Fifth Harmony’s Lauren Jauregui, and Cashmere Cat, and trotting a marathon-esque play for us, Halsey’s new album hopeless fountain kingdom is the best pop record released thus far. Besides, perhaps “hopeless” isn’t a place, nothing but a state of mind.
Halsey – hopeless fountain kingdom
Release: June 2, 2017 – Astralwerks
Rating: 9.5/10 – Brad LaPlante
Buy it, Stream it, or Skip it?: Buy it. The new album is something entirely incredible. Each song will make you feel something and at the same time nearly experience it.