by HalseyHalsey


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An internet phenomenon, New Jersey's Ashley Frangipane, aka Halsey, parlayed her over 16,000 YouTube subscribers into a record deal with Astralwerks at age 18, a deal based primarily around her moody, synth-heavy single "Ghost." Two years later, Badlands finds the 20-year-old budding pop sensation delivering a set of songs that sound a lot like that fateful first single. Which isn't a bad thing. The sound that defined her D.I.Y. music is still apparent, though she did collaborate here with a handful of like-minded producers including Lido, the Futuristics, and Son Lux, who helped flesh out her highly personal songs into even more dramatic, sonically dense recordings. On the surface, Badlands is all chilly atmosphere, thanks to a bevy of thick bass tones, pulsing synthesizers, and rattlesnake percussion loops. It's a goth throwback that brings to mind Danny Lohner's work with Nine Inch Nails. However, underneath that icy landscape, Halsey burns with a feminist confidence, spitting out lyrics with her soulful voice that sound like Björk with vocal fry. On "Castle," she sings "I'm headed straight for the castle/They've got the kingdom locked up/And there's an old man sitting on a throne they're saying, 'I should probably keep my pretty mouth shut.'" Of course, it's clear from the start of Badlands that keeping her mouth shut is the last thing Halsey plans to do. As she proclaims on the taut, slow-tempo jam "Hold Me Down," "My demons are begging me to open up my mouth." Thankfully, Halsey consistently brings a strong sense of self to her content at every turn, musing with blithe emotion about her sexuality and creative independence. She also has a knack for singling out little generational touchstones that lend her songs an anthemic quality. On "New Americana," her vocals double-tracked like the children's chorus on Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall," she sings, "We are the new Americana/High on legal marijuana/Raised on Biggie and Nirvana." Interestingly, while her noir-ish, older-than-her-years image has drawn comparisons to contemporaries like Lana Del Rey and Lorde (and yes, there are similarities), musically, she has more in common with male-fronted acts like New York's X Ambassadors, merging dark, electronic indie with the rhythmic bump and lyrical flow of R&B. There's also something angry, literate, and youthfully defiant about Badlands that brings to mind the sneer of Garbage's Shirley Manson. Ultimately, it's all of Halsey's seemingly contradictory elements brought together that lend Badlands such a fascinating topography.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/28/2015
Label: Astralwerks
UPC: 0602547360342
catalogNumber: 473603
Rank: 2304


  1. Castle
  2. Hold Me Down
  3. New Americana
  4. Drive
  5. Roman Holiday
  6. Colors
  7. Coming Down
  8. Haunting
  9. Control
  10. Young God
  11. Ghost

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Halsey   Primary Artist
Aron Forbes   Guitar
Merit Leighton   Children's Chorus
Mason Purece   Children's Chorus
Levi Gunn   Children's Chorus
Jayda Brown   Children's Chorus
Emma Gunn   Children's Chorus

Technical Credits

Tim Bran   Composer
James Mtume   Composer
Chris Hugall   Composer
Dan Grech-Marguerat   Programming
Chris Spilfogel   Programming,Additional Production
Justyn Pilbrow   Composer,Producer
Ryan McMahon   Composer
Charlie Hugall   Composer,Producer
Roy Kerr   Composer
Tim Anderson   Composer,Programming,Producer,Instrumentation
Futuristics   Producer
Alex Schwartz   Composer
Dennis Stainken   Marketing
Joe Khajadourian   Composer
Captain Cuts   Producer
Aron Forbes   Additional Production
Peder Losnegård   Composer
Benjamin Berger   Composer
Dylan Bauld   Composer
Dylan Quagliato   Composer
Ashley Frangipane   Composer
Dylan Scott   Producer
Garrett Hilliker   Art Direction
Heavy Mellow   Additional Production
Chandra Uber   Composer
Ryan Loti   Composer
Kalkutta   Additional Production
Rob Tortelli   Composer
Dylan William   Producer,Vocal Producer,Additional Production
Larzz Principato   Composer,Additional Production

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