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Music / Halsey

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I will never be anything but honest.
"You were red, and you liked me 'cause I was blue..."

Ashley Nicolette Frangipane (born September 29, 1994), better-known by her stage name Halsey, is an American singer/songwriter specializing in alt-pop. Astralwerks signed her based on the strength of the single she posted on Soundcloud, "Ghost", which would go on to be one of her most popular songs. She sings "songs about sex and being sad". After the release of her EP, Halsey quickly gained a young set of fans through her candid attitude, her liberal sociopolitical views, and her raw, provocative, often profane lyrical style.

She co-headlined with Young Rising Sons in 2015, and then played as an opening act for Imagine Dragons' Smoke + Mirrors tour. Her rapid rise to success led her to a solo tour in September 2015. In 2016, she collaborated with The Chainsmokers on their song "Closer", which became a huge #1 hit almost immediately after it was released.



  • Room 93 (EP) (2014)
  • BADLANDS (2015)
  • hopeless fountain kingdom (2017)

Her work provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alone in a Crowd: "Alone" echoes this, along with feelings of inadequacy that come with being people's idol.
    Everywhere I go, I got a million different people tryna kick it, but I'm still alone in my mind
  • Alter-Ego Acting: A minor case. Her stage persona is simply a condensed, dramatized version of her.
    "So what I think I explain is that Halsey is an anagram for Ashley, so if you rearrange Ashley, you get Halsey, and I think the difference is more than spelling. It's like, if you rearrange me a little you get Halsey. It's not so much an alter ego as it is an amplified version of me. Ashley's like, 'What kind of fucking cereal do I like in the morning?' Ashley is "did I remember to call my mom today?" Ashley is if I lose my mail key.[...] When I'm sitting here, talking about what fucking shoes I like, or what makeup I wear, that's Ashley. Halsey is a protagonist."
  • Badass Boast:
    • "Hurricane".
    ''I'm a wanderess, I'm a one-night stand
    Don't belong to no city, don't belong to no man
    I'm the violence in the pouring rain-I'm a hurricane.''
    Do you call yourself a fuckin' hurricane like me?
    • Used again in "Control":
    ''I'm bigger than my body, I'm colder than this home
    I'm meaner than my demons, I'm bigger than these bones
    And all the kids cried out, "Please stop, you're scaring me
    I can't help this awful energy
    God damn right, you should be scared of me.''
    We feared no city and we feared no man.
    • Used in "Heaven in Hiding":
    "And when you start to look at me, a physical fatality
    And you surrender to the heat, you'll know
    I can put on a show, I can put on a show"
  • Bi the Way: Quite a few songs mention, or are about, relationships with women as well as men.
  • Break-Up Song:
    • "Ghost" is about a relationship in which one partner is no longer emotionally invested.
    • "Sorry" is a I Want My Beloved to Be Happy-type version sung by someone apologizing to a lover they treated badly as they're leaving.
      Someone will love you, but someone isn't me.
  • Catholic School Girls Rule: A downplayed example in her "Colors" music video.
  • Cluster F-Bomb:
    • "Strange Love" features ten uses in just over four minutes, emphasized by Halsey's forceful delivery of the song.
    • "Don't play" manages to fit five uses in just the chorus alone.
  • Concept Album: All of them. BADLANDS is about a Vegas-gothic metaphor for her negative mental state. hopeless fountain kingdom is a play on Romeo and Juliet. Even Room 93 is themed around the strange, pocket-universe feel of hotel rooms.
  • Cover Changes The Meaning: Her rendition of "I Walk the Line", altering a country song about being faithful in a relationship to an unsettling alternative tune implying the speaker is stuck with a particular lover, even addicted to them.
  • Crapsack World: The titular "Badlands" in her debut album. She describes the place as an urban-sprawl dystopia, representative of a negative mental state.
  • Dead Sparks: "Lie".
    Breakfast is cold, as cold as our bed.
  • Descent into Addiction: Not her, but mentioned in "Bad At Love":
    Had a girl with California eyes and I thought that she could really be the one this time, but I never got the chance to make her mine, because she fell in love with little thin white lines.
  • Get Back in the Closet: Speaks about the phenomenon here after getting significant backlash from Moral Guardians over her redo of the "Ghost" video, which featured a romance between her and her female co-star.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: The Spoken Word opening to the "Ghost" video, roughly translating to "As I look back at the past together with her, suddenly she starts to disappear. Maybe she never really existed."
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: "Luna", the protagonist of hopeless fountain kingdom.
    Out alone in San Tropez, lookin' as fine as a damn Monet
    Tryna hydrate, no Perrier; everybody thirsty, drinks on me
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Referenced in "Ghost".
    ''I don't like 'em innocent, I don't want no face-fresh
    Want them wearing leather, begging "Let me be your taste-test"''.
  • Heroic Seductress: The narrator in "Hurricane".
  • Intercourse with You: To be expected, as a lot of her songs are about sex.
    When you start to feel the rush, the crimson headache, aching blush and you surrender to the touch, you'll know
    I can put on a show, I can put on a show. Don't you see what you're finding? This is heaven in hiding. I'm heaven in hiding.
  • Important Haircut: At the end of the "Now or Never" video.
  • Lady Swears-a-Lot: Barely a song of hers is devoid of profanity, with Cluster F-Bombs and Precision F-Strikes occurring very frequently.
  • La Résistance: The "New Americana" video features her leading one.
    They made me their leader when I never asked to be. The lightning in their eyes molded me into whatever they needed me to become. We were hopeful we would win, because nothing could scare us.
  • Lecherous Licking: From the smirk she's wearing at the end of this clip, she knows what she's doing.
  • Likes Older Men: One of the plot twists in the music video for Halsey's "Colors".
  • Melismatic Vocals: "Everything is blu-uuu-uuuuu-uu-e".
  • Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness: Averages around a 7.
  • Oblivious to Love: In "Strangers", both narrators feel more for the other than just a friends-with-benefits type of relationship, but neither realizes her feelings are shared.
  • Precision F-Strike: In "Young God":
    If you wanna go to Heaven, you should fuck me tonight.
    • Twice in "Gasoline":
    ''Just to pour that motherfucker down the drain like me?
    Do you call yourself a fuckin' hurricane like me?''
  • Protest Song:
    • "New Americana" is about, in her words, a "generation unafraid of diversity".
    • And "Castle", the first song on her debut album, addresses her irritation with the Double Standard expectations living in a patriarchal social mandates.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "Without Me" is one of these directed at someone that Halsey helped who then ditched her for fame and glory at the first opportunity they got, reminding them Halsey is the one who "put [them] up there" and asking if they're lonely pretending that they can live without her.
  • Revenge Ballad: "Castle", is, according to Word of God, about Revenge Against Men.
    I'm headed straight for the castle
    They wanna make me their queen
    And there's an old man sitting on the throne that's saying
    That I prob'ly shouldn't be so mean
  • Sanity Slippage Song: Given that her debut album focused on a fictional city meant to represent her former negative headspace, it's not surprising that it features a couple of these, most notably "Control".
  • Screw Yourself: Not in a literal sense, but the girl she's making out with in the "Ghost" video is intentionally made up to look like her-same clothes, same hair, similar proportions, to emphasize the confusion of what she represents.
  • Sequel Song: "Colors, Pt. II".
  • Sex for Solace: "Strangers" is about a rebound romance she had while trying to get over a long-term boyfriend. Ironically, the lyrics make it clear that both girls feel more for the other than just this, but neither will admit it because they believe the other doesn't care.
    We're not lovers, we're just strangers with the same damn hunger to be touched, to be loved, to feel anything at all
    • On the same album, "I find myself alone at night, unless I'm having sex" from "Eyes Closed".
  • Shout-Out:
    • The music video for "Ghost" distinctly resembles Lost in Translation, from the setting to the bob wig the singer wears throughout most of the video.
    • The music video for "Colors" was filmed in Murder House from American Horror Story. Anyone who has seen the series knows that the house is the main character of its season.
    • Well, King Midas put his hands on me again... from "Eyes Closed"
    • In "Without Me", she quotes the "You don't have to say what you did, I already know" line from "Cry Me A River" by Justin Timberlake and even matches the cadence of it.
  • Significant Anagram: Her stage name is her real given name with a couple of letters switched around.
  • Spoken Word in Music:
    • The fan-favorite lyric in "Colors":
    You were red, and you liked me because I was blue. You touched me, and suddenly I was a lilac sky, and you decided purple just wasn't for you.
    • Hopeless Fountain Kingdom's first track, The Prologue, has Halsey speaking the entirety of Shakespeare's Prologue for Romeo and Juliet.
    • "Good Mourning" has Halsey's little brother, Dante, speaking the entire intro.
  • Stacy's Mom: The music video for Halsey's "Colors" centers around Halsey's character getting along with Tyler Posey's character and his parents and its seems everything is fine. Until the reveal shows that she's actually in love with Posey's father which he discovers through her Polaroids and he reacts in disgust.
  • Two-Person Pool Party: In the "Ghost" video.
  • Vice City: "Those are the Badlands. We don't go there."
  • Whole Album Reference: hopeless fountain kingdom, to Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet.
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • Unusually for her genre, she implies that she's the Other Woman in "Is There Somewhere".
      ''You're writing lines about me; romantic poetry.
      Your girl's got red in her cheeks 'cause we're something she can't see.
      And I try to refrain, but you're stuck in my brain,
      And all I do is cry and complain because second's not the same.''
    • Implied in "Hopeless":
    "Boy, you make it look so simple, mm
    Yeah, I've known that girl for like my whole life
    Back in my hotel and I'm alone inside, oh"


Example of: