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Beauty Queen

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  1. I'm back back back back back again for my second review because I'm bored as fuck!
    Today I'm going to review Carly Rae Jepsen's "Emotion" (stylized as "E•MO•TION"). At first, diving into this album I didn't have too many high expectations. I was tempted to listen to the whole album after hearing the brilliant singles "Run Away With Me" and "Your Type", both songs making a lasting impression on me, however my thoughts on Carly Rae Jepsen were still conflicted after the bubblegum pop endeavours of her earlier work including the single we'll never forget, "Call Me Maybe". Although both singles blew me away I still assumed they were singles for a reason and that the rest of the album would be mediocre at best by Jepsen's standards. However, my bias was certainly proved wrong because this is such an incredible and underrated pop album, definitely proving Jepsen as a strong pop musician. Unlike her earlier work, although this album still has a fun and light-hearted feeling to it, it simultaneously feels much more creative and intuitive which makes the biggest difference in Jepsen's overall presentation and makes for an album that proves able to be fun and entertaining yet insightful to some degree, which is what I think Jepsen was really missing in her early stuff. Without further ado, let me jump into a track-by-track review.
     
    1. Run Away With Me: Honestly, an absolutely perfect album opener. This is one of the strongest lead singles from a pop album I've heard in a long time and it's a shame it didn't receive the mainstream recognition it deserved. Right off the bat, this is my favorite track off of the album. Sometimes, having the first track be strongest can be a weak quality in an album, because it sets up for disappointment. However, although Run Away With Me is the strongest track, the others manage to keep up with the mood and path that it sets, which allows this song to serve as a brilliant opener which gives us an opening vibe to prepare us for the rest of the album, which is wonderful. Not only that, but the upbeat thematics of the song also make it a strategic placement for the album opener. Everything about this song makes for a perfect pop song. Not only are Jepsen's vocals amazing, but the synth production is absolutely outstanding and puts me in such a good mood. Also, for such a light hearted song, the lyricism is actually not bad, and there are some really awesome lines thrown in there, such as "I'll be your sinner in secret". Overall, this is an absolute flawless execution of a pop song and I think it's by far one of the standouts on the album - and an obvious choice for lead single. 10/10
     
    2. E•MO•TION: Ironically, after the absolutely brilliant standout as our opener, I feel like this title track is one of the weakest. Now, thankfully it doesn't necessarily ruin the brilliant vibe that "Run Away With Me" sets us up with, but it definitely throws it off a bit. The production on this one is much less distinct, and an overwhelming upbeat-ness clouds the fact that this song really lacks any unique character or personality of it's own. It gets lost in the midst of the album as a filler track. This lack of distinction also makes this song a let down as a title track. It's mostly the production on this one that sets it off course, opting for a briskly bubblegum sound which does little to solidify the uniqueness Jepsen aimed for. Lyrically, it's nothing special either. The vocals are yet again quite nice but nothing to save this song from being any less forgettable. If this song wasn't the title track, I would forget it existed. 4/10
     
    3. I Really Like You: Now this is "Call Me Maybe" done right! This is what the title track was aiming to create but failed at. Although flamboyantly bubblegum, I Really Like You mixes adorably upbeat bubblegum moods and themes with a synth-pop edge that makes for a song that manages to feel unique and characteristically realized which is exactly what the title track was missing. Probably the most light-hearted song on the album, this song is just pure dreams, smiles and rainbows, and it's amazing!! A brilliant choice as a single, if you ask me. The lyrics are of course quite simple but executed in the best way possible. The instrumental is flawless and the touch of the "hey!"s in the background, and other little details like that, bring the song to it's full potential. Jepsen's vocals once again prove to be really strong, but this time, heightened by a complimentary instrumental and atmosphere. This song is a prime example of the absolute perfect way to create a bubblegum pop song and it's one of the most brilliant standouts on the album. 10/10
     
    4. Gimmie Love: Now, this track is such a wonderful "key change" of sorts through the album. The first three tracks prove to be wholly upbeat, happy and fun, which although really entertaining, could get very tiring and reductive if the whole album was like so. Gimmie Love is the much needed break from overwhelming upbeatness, and in a really strategic position, too, at track number four. The vocals are simple but beautifully executed. Although the instrumental is much lower-key than the other three tracks, it still finds a way to define it's self individually, which again, was what the title track was missing. And even though it's a lower-key song, there's still a wonderful catchyness about it and there's a nice kick and cute beat to make the song remain fun and pop without having to be an overwhelming bundle of joy and happiness. The lyrics are simple and cute, but conceptually, nothing too special, but again, this is a really cute track and a much needed break on the album. 9/10
     
    5. All That: Now, this is TRULY a breakaway track and something so fresh and unseen for the album. I love every single element that Carly experimented with for this song. Although this song had a lot of potential to become any other little sweet ballad or poetic love song, it became so much more because of it's production and full realization. Carly and her team did such a fucking outstanding job at making this a throwback 80s ballad without (a.) becoming lost in trying to recreate a theme and in turn, having the song come off as pretentious and dumb (b.) not committing to the theme enough and failing at paying homage to such an iconic style, or (c.) failing to add a new, unique and individual aspect to it and instead having the song just become a knock-off or nothing more than a parody. The 80s style is recreated in such a brilliant way and the execution is so authentic because it still manages to feel signature - like a Carly Rae Jepsen song, or at least like a song off of this album, rather than a parody or copycat. Even the conceptualization of the lyrics is absolutely fucking genius and this doesn't even have to be the most spectacular song in terms of vocals to really be a huge standout. Flawless! 10/10
     
    6. Boy Problems: Moving on to one of the other singles on the album, we have this adorable little tune, Boy Problems. Firstly, I'd like to say that I really like the concept and the execution behind the lyrics. It doesn't have to be the deepest or most intuitive song ever written to still have some lyrics that are written really, really well, and I actually really appreciate the lyricism in this track - although it's simple in nature, it's effective in concept. This song is super groovy and again piggybacks off of that lovely 80s throwback style that the whole album has been serving. Again, similar to "All That", the song doesn't seem to lose it's own identity in an attempt to pay homage which is key for executing a throwback style. Can I also say that I really appreciate those adorable "na na na na na na"s in the choruses that really add something so spicy and fun to this song. However, I do think that the track, especially as a single, is just missing a certain little something. Maybe it needed a really powerful vocal moment, or some more kick to the production - there's just a little feeling missing that wont let me give this one a ten. Still, though, a great song. 9/10
     
    7. Making The Most Of The Night: My god, this album is just filled with powerful song after powerful song. It's crazy that thus far, the only song that's let me down at all was the title track it's self. And let me say, this track right here is for sure the second best on the album behind "Run Away With Me". From the very start of the song it has such a powerful and unique energy. There's something so whimsical and magical about that intro that makes me vibeeeeeee. Then those beats kick in god damn. In isolation, all of the elements of this track are done brilliantly. The vocals are absolutely lovely, and unlike "Boy Problems", Jepsen varies and fluctuates her voice throughout the track which really adds something big to it's overall feeling. The production is also done flawlessly and is one of the more unique production jobs on the album. The 80s throwback vibes are still there, but this feels completely revolutionized in terms of instrumental, and the uniqueness of those lullaby effects and whimsical sounds means that this song has such a huge identity of it's own. Even the lyrics are really well written and put a smile on my face. This is the epitome of well-executed pop music. 10/10
     
    8. Your Type: CAN CARLY SLAY JESUS DO NO WRONG OH MY GOD. Yet ANOTHER amazing fucking track on this album, what the fuck?! Jesus, I have so much to say about this one. This is the song that inspired me to look further into Carly, specifically this album, because of how truly amazing it is, and because of how huge of a stretch it is from her earlier stuff. This song is actually so god damn incredible and is put together with such finesse, it's crazy, honestly. First of all, that absolutely amazing production which manages to keep the song's emotions flowing, yet also have such a sick kick that you can get down to and cry along with at the same time. The lyricism on this song is, in my opinion, the best on the entire album. The lyrics are so beautiful, raw and emotional and they're only heightened by the vocals. I can literally feel Carly' whole heart as she sings and it's so vulnerable and amazing. You can really, really tell that this song was written from a place of some really deep emotion (no pun intended) and that's so respectable. This song is just so intuitive and creative and proves Carly as quite a genuine and artistic force in modern pop. I also love the fact that this track was chosen as a single because it makes it feel even more authentic knowing that it's one of Carly's favorites, too. 10/10
     
    9. Let's Get Lost: To be honest, I'm actually so thrilled to finally have a bad song after that seemingly-endless streak of flawless tracks. Yeah, this one is.... not good. This track is such a vibe-ruiner, to be completely honest. As the album is flowing, we're getting such powerful songs like "Your Type" and "All That - and then really flawless bangers like "Run Away With Me" and "Making The Most Of The Night" and then this song shows up, and honestly, it just feels so juvenile. There's seriously something so kidz bop about this track and it's not cute. The production on this one is so much lower-key than the rest of the album, but still tries to serve some high-energy, dance-power, but it does not work at all. That idea was executed millions of times better on "Gimmie Love". Honestly, this is just a bad song, nothing much to say. There's nothing special in her vocals at all, and she demonstrated some really great range and singing ability earlier on in the album. Hell, even the title track had some salvageable vocals. This one is just boring. I also really dislike the lyrics - they portray Carly as sort of a callous, player-ish character and it gives me bad vibes. 2/10
     
    10. LA Hallucinations: Thankfully, LA Hallucinations jumps in to save the course of the tracklist once again! Thank lord for this song because "Let's Get Lost" really set the album off course. This is such a standout on the album in terms of uniqueness. It's a lot different than a lot of the other material on here, but still manages to feel cohesive and in-place which is a great feat. From the very beginning of that instrumental, you can feel something fresh and new which I really appreciate. I also love that this song actually feels less-80s inspired. It's nice to take a little second away from the whole 80s thing. It's still cohesive in terms of 80s inspiration, there's some digital vibes going on, but overall, it feels like it's its own little moment on the album and I really like that. The verses are absolutely incredible and THAT GIGGLE IN THE FIRST VERSE GETS ME EVERY MOTHERFUCKING TIME HONEY. There's something trappy about this song and I love it. The lyrics are also so fucking cool, and such a brilliant and much-needed break from all of the romance themes. In fact, looking back, all songs except "Making The Most Of The Night" were centered around themes of romance, this break from that is so lovely. The choruses aren't as strong as the verses in my opinion, but still really cool. However, I do think that the bridge is the weakest point in this song, it's not necessarily bad, but not good compared to the rest of the track. Also, similar to "Boy Problems", I do feel like this track is missing a little something something here and there. Never-the-less, a brilliant song. 9/10
     
    11. Warm Blood: Fuck me UP. Talk about a standout!! This song is truly such a special moment on the album and I think everybody who's a fan of this album has so much fucking respect for every single thing that Carly did on this track. This is such a huge step-away from the rest of the album and holy fuck, it's so amazing. Carly really broke away from some of the more commercial, radio-friendly sounds she was rocking with and created something so fucking cool, unique, creative, artistic, intuitive, experimental, and everything in between. Let's start with the lyrics which are AMAZING. Do I care that we're back to romance? Not at all. Wanna know why? BECAUSE BITCH CAN WRITE. The lyrics are actually so flawless and I'm shook. The production on this track is the strongest on the whole entire album which is saying a lot because the production is by far one of the strongest features on the album. Holy fuck, all of the amazing experimentation, the sickening vocal effects, and that deadass amazing synthy kick, this is one seriously well-produced song. Even the vocals are so god damn cool, they're lower key yet they still manage to express some huge vocal talents. This is by far the most unique song on the entire album and it's such a huge standout, I love this one so much. So proud of Carly. 10/10
     
    12. When I Needed You: Blegh. Really, really disappointed in this ending. I'm gonna keep this one short because there's little to say about this song at all. Production is really....... uhhhh. Reminiscent of title track and "Let's Get Lost". Lyrics..... really suck. Vocals are unimpressive. The only redeeming quality in this track is those little "You come to me in dreams at night" moments which are cute. This track is.... bad. Such a weak note to end such a great album on, really, really disappointing. 2/10
     
    Overall: 105/120 or 88%
    Favorite songs: Run Away With Me, I Really Like You, Making The Most Of The Night, Your Type, Warm Blood
    Least favorite songs: Emotion, Let's Get Lost, When I Needed You
     
  2. H e l l o     B i t c h e s
    So I'm slightly tipsy and binging on some obscure Irish biscuits but I wanted to review this iconic album for my first blog entry xx.
     
    I've really loved Halsey since just after Badlands came out. At first, I found her to be boring, bland and pretentious but I found myself really getting into Badlands and finding her to be amazing. Now, much later on, she's become one of my all time favorite artists. One of the things that draws me to her the most is her amazing aesthetics and ability to create something that feels authentically creative without having to be necessarily restricted to just the music. This new album is a prime example of that. The fact that she has gone out of her way to develop a thematic production alongside the body of work is truly amazing. Not only that - but the concepts that she has created are absolutely fucking genius. There is something so intriguing to me about the concept behind this story. Not only is it accompanied by a flawless soundtrack - the album it's self, but the aesthetics we've witnessed so far are frankly outstanding. From the album art to the Now Or Never video, this era is truly something so spectacular. The album is of extremely high highs and a small number of low lows. Yet, the brilliance of the conceptualization is ever -redeeming and more than enough to make up for some of the weaker content music-wise. Similar to Badlands, this album has some revolutionary production on every single song. No matter whether I like the song or not, there is no denying that the production is in a league of it's own. As far as vocal range and development goes, Halsey proves to have grown a lot as an artist since her debut. Lyrically, there are a few weak moments, just as there were on Badlands, but overall, I think the writing is only short of fantastic and Halsey has an incredible narrative touch. Without further ado, let me jump into a track-by-track.
     
    1. The Prologue: The idea of having a prologue was at first very bleak. It seemed nothing but extra. However, once I heard it, my mind on that completely changed. For the first portion of the prologue, Halsey recites the prologue of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet - the main inspiration for the album's concept. There is a certain beauty behind Halsey paying homage to her inspiration and I think that recognizing the references that play such a huge role in creating a concept is a tremendous addition to this album right off the bat. For the second part of the prologue, Halsey chants a short piece in a vocally edited, Imogen Heap-esque vibe. The lyrics in this section are really fucking cool and the vocals are so spectacularly creepy. Unlike the other interlude on the album - "Good Mourning", I really find myself enjoying this short piece as a stand-alone and I see myself listening to it outside of the context of the album. Overall, a flawless opening to the album both subjectively and conceptually. 10/10
     
    2. 100 Letters: Honestly, I'm so incredibly confused to see this track has gone on to be one of the fan favorites. Firstly, dealing in concept, much like Romeo & Juliet again, in this track, Halsey tells us the whole story all at once before delving into the details. Although I once more can appreciate this inspiration and influence, I don't enjoy the idea of that in context of a concept album. Nothing about it works. Now, if we deal with the song it's self, I find it to be by far the weakest track on the album. At first, I found it so devastatingly boring and bland, unbearable, even. It has grown on me, for sure, but that doesn't necessarily make it good. The production is uneventful and monotonous, with a confusing vibe. The vocals are nothing special, and the lyrics grown tiring and repetitive. Not much to say about this one, but it definitely ruins the vibe that The Prologue sets me up with. 6/10
     
    3. Eyes Closed: This was the second promotional single released for the album. Now, don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the track, but I don't see why it was chosen as a promotional single at all. It's cute and all, with some nice moments and a decent overall presentation, but it's nothing too catchy, nothing too interesting - it's a standard filler track. Let's talk about the negatives first. It feels like there is a disconnect between the verses and the chorus - it just comes across as clunky. There's no build-up between the soft verse and heavy-hitting chorus and it desperately needed one - the change is too abrupt and polarizing. That being said, the chorus is my least favorite part of the song. The instrumentation, production, and especially the vocals throughout the verses are all brilliant, but the chorus is the song's downfall. It's so incredibly ill-fitting in the song. Conceptually, the song is once again, just "cute". Nothing showstopping in regards to themes or lyrics. Vocally, this is quite a nice track, though, especially in the second verse and bridge, where she shows a thin and light side which is really charming. Overall, not a bad song, but not a special one either. 7/10
     
    4. Heaven In Hiding: Now this is where miss Frangipane does THAT. Talk about a fucking standout. I love how instead of finding a medium between slower and chiller, and full on bop, like in "Eyes Closed", she decides to go with one or the other - and the option she chose was B O P!!!!! My god is this a banger. I remember listening to this for the first time and being left completely SHOOK. We'll get the minor negative points out of the way first. In terms of concept, the song is confusing. It doesn't necessarily fit into the story and she passes it of as being part of a "party scene" which feels weird and clunky. But my god, that's nothing to outweigh how amazing this song is. Right from the start, we're hit with such a catchy and infectious beat and some sick fucking vocals. I'm pretty sure everybody felt at least a little shook when she dropped the f-bomb right at the start. In fact, that's the moment you know the track is going to be completely turned the fuck out. But hunny, let me get started on this motherfucking chorus, HOT DAMN. Not only is the beat sick but everything about the chorus is actual musical perfection. First of all, the lyrics are SO FUCKING COOL?? Like, in terms of lyrics, this is such a cool way to write a sex song. When she drops those lines "crimson headache, aching blush" there's such an amazing vibe that comes along with that. But the second section of the chorus is the highlight of this already showstopping track. When the beat shifts and she sings with such an awesome dialect on the lines "And when you start to look at me / A physical fatality" there is NO STOPPING THE SHOOKNESS. This is one of the biggest bangers I've ever heard, to be honest. I really love when alternative girls do this - they'll have one standout banger on their album, such as "Trainwreck" from Banks' "The Altar", or "Tag, You're It" from Melanie Martinez' "Crybaby". In fact, that was something I felt we were missing on Badlands, a really powerful dance banger that separates it's self from the rest of the album, so I'm thrilled to see Halsey creating diversity in her music. This is by far one of the best tracks on the album. 10/10
     
    5. Alone: This is such a cool track, too! Again, in terms of concept, it's weak, as it's happening in the same supposed party as "Heaven In Hiding", however, most certainly another bop. There's such an interesting socialite/gatsby vibe to this song as a whole - both sonically and lyrically, and it makes for something really entertaining. Production-wise, this is both a standout and a step-up for Halsey. The production is different enough to anything she's done before but I really love it. At first, it felt reminiscent of "Closer" or any other work by The Chainsmokers - but upon further acquaintance with the track, it feels more-so like The Chainsmokers done right. The characteristics of the song are energetic and fun, and really entertaining. Yet, lyrically, there's actually some dark themes lying here which makes for a track that's layered and complicated which is something I love to see in a song, it gives the song much more personality and oomph. Vocally, Halsey demonstrates some really cool work here too, there's something really charming about her voice throughout this track and it really makes it much more enjoyable as a whole. Overally, a really great song, and one of the standouts for sure. 10/10
     
    6. Now Or Never: Much like Tove Lo's "Cool Girl", most fans were shocked to see that this track was chosen as the lead single when they heard the full album, and I'd have to agree with them. Now, don't get me wrong, this is by no means a bad song, in fact, it's a great one, but similar to "Eyes Closed", it feels trapped in a 'middle ground' of sorts. This song, although a well-rounded one, doesn't exactly hone in on any specific song element - like "Heaven In Hiding"'s sickening banger qualities, "Alone"'s loud personality, some of the vocal demonstration we'll see later on in the album, or even the conceptual realization we see in "The Prologue". Rather, this song chooses to distribute it's characteristics evenly across all elements, which although, definitely helps make the song a decent one, removes any potential for the song to be a standout, and therefore making it quite a mundane choice for lead single. However, if we view the track away from a lead single perspective and rather as just a track on the album, it's a nice song. The production is fresh and cool and I love the vocals. Lyrically, it's also pretty cute. It's definitely a good song, it just doesn't have as loud a personality as some of the other tracks, and so it sees it's self starting to slip into the "filler" category a little bit. 8.5/10
     
    7. Sorry: This is what I'm talking about it terms of personality standouts on the album. Sorry is the only ballad featured on the album and god damn is it an amazing one. Let's isolate each element of the song and talk about how great they are! We'll start with the least focused element - the production. The piano instrumental is so very pretty, obviously nothing too amazing because it's just piano, but beautiful nontheless, and a brilliant compliment to the rest of the song. The extremely vague touches of instrumental sound effects at the start and end are a lovely touch. Vocally, this is by far one of the best tracks on the album. Halsey sings this song so stunningly, especially in the chorus, where she demonstrates a more powerful and strong side of her normally light and thin voice, which is really nice to see. But the lyricism behind this song is where it really shines, and where it brings the other elements of the song to their full realization. The lyric writing on this track is absolutely fucking beautiful, it's so honest, raw, and vulnerable. I absolutely adore every lyric in this song. The theme that Halsey writes about is both hauntingly sad and stunningly emotional and it feels so amazingly sincere and authentic. The vocals only add to the flawless lyrics, bringing out the raw emotion and making this song something so grand. I swear, the "someone will love you" part sends chills down my spine. 10/10
     
    8. Good Mourning: Our second interlude on the album. I don't think this interlude is necessarily bad, it is a little confused in it's motive though. Let's start with the actual sound of the interlude. I love the kid at the start reading the monologue, it's so creepy and haunting, and lord knows that's something I live for. The fact that the voice is done by Halsey's little brother makes it so much cooler too. The second section of the interlude is also super creepy and cool, with some major Alice in Wonderland vibes. However, since this interlude stands mostly as a conceptual thing, I don't think it gets the job done. I don't think this interlude knows exactly what it's trying to say. The concept is very jumbled and confused and I genuinely don't think there actually is a deeper meaner to this one. Unlike "The Prologue", I don't see myself listening to this outside the context of the album. 7/10
     
    9. Lie (feat. Quavo): I'm quite torn on this one. Although this song has a super cool sound to it, it also has this quality about it that makes it hard to listen to more than once over a period of time, it has almost no replay quality. All I can say on that is that I'm really glad this song is shorter, because if it were the length of a normal song, it would drag on horribly. The vocals are really cool and the production is very well done, but this song just doesn't have any particular star quality about it. As for the Quavo feature, I actually don't hate it as much as most others. It doesn't take a way from the song too much, although it's still really unnecessary and it would be much better as a solo song. I'm also really conflicted on the lyrics, too. I really love the idea behind the lyrics - "if you don't love me no more then lie". However, the execution on the lyrics could have been much tighter, especially in the verses. The verses are quite pretentious and tacky in terms of lyrics. Now don't get me wrong, there are some cool lines in there, like "Cause I'm trynna give the impression that I get the message you wish I was dead", yet then there are some horrible ones - "She tall like the Eiffel". 6.5/10
     
    10. Walls Could Talk: Definitely viewed as one of the more interesting moments on the album. Production wise, this under two-minute song is really something special. The instrumentation is awesome and the vocal production on the choruses is really fucking awesome. Lyrically, it feels really interesting and clever, too. There is certainly a very creepy story going on in the lyrics of this track, very reminiscent of Romeo & Juliet and definitely great at bringing forth the modern twist on the Shakespearean classic. So for that, I would say this is one of the stronger tracks conceptually. Still, though, this song feels to short to amount to anything too powerful. Yet there is some conflict there, as I feel like the song is so jarring that it would be horrible if it dragged on any longer. Also, much like "Lie", it's jarring-ness gives it a weak replay quality and sonically it can age poorly. Still, though, a very interesting little one minute and fourty two seconds. 8/10
     
    11. Bad At Love: Much like "100 Letters", I was confused to see this turn out to be one of the fan favorites on the album. This song had much promise at the start for me, but it really fucks it's self over. Those first few bars of the instrumental are the peak of the entire song. However, the instrumental goes on to become super monotonous and one-note. It becomes really tiring to listen to, and just not cute. Vocally, although there are strong moments to this song, they get completely drowned out by the instrumental which is just horrible. Lyrically, I have some conflict with this track. I really like the lyricism going on with the verses and the little mini stories that they hold, yet something about the lyrics in this song feel horribly reminiscent of Halsey's more pretentious side. The lyrics on this track feel like a poor-man's "Sorry". In it, Halsey makes herself out to be somebody who is unfortunate in romance and bad at relationships - yet the execution of the writing turns it into a really pretentious, tumblrina song which is such a shame. Unlike "Sorry", this song feels emotionless, almost callous, and tries to hard to have personality and to feel edgy. However, even if the lyrics were any smack, the song still sounds absolutely horrible. Like, I genuinely can not listen to this one with any form of enjoyment because of how terrible it sounds. The bridge is the one redeeming moment in the song because the disgusting instrumental dies down for one golden little moment and you have a moment to breathe. Actually, I take back what I said about "100 Letters", this is the worst song on the album. 4/10
     
    12. Don't Play: This is another cute little track on the album. Although it feels more on the filler side, there's something very refreshing about this track. It takes a break from the romance-centric themes of the album and gives us a moment to get a different side of Halsey which is really, really nice. The beats and production on this track are really fucking sick, especially in the chorus, after she sings "motherfucker, don't play with me", and we get that amazing little breakdown sound effect going on - really damn cool. There are lots of little cool elements to this track that I really appreciate. Lyrically, it feels slightly in league with "Bad At Love", however, trying to put it's self on a pedestal of rough, edgyness. The lyrics in the second chorus are really tragic. The line about "parmesan".... yikes. I'm aware that she's referencing cocaine, and not the cheese, yet it feels really clunky and not cute. There are some bad rhymes made, for sure. Yet they're not too distracting from the song as a whole because it's definitely pretty cool, and a great little song to vibe to every now and again. It's for sure one of the more forgettable tracks on the album, though, once again, lacking character. 8/10
     
    13. Strangers (feat. Lauren Jaregui): The album's third promotional single. As most people would agree, I quite enjoy this song. not necessarily a huge amazing standout but never-the-less, a great track. Lets start with the feature - Fifth Harmony's Lauren Jaregui. Unlike the inclusion of Quavo on "Lie", this feature feels successfully executed. Conceptually, this song is very powerful and I really enjoy all of the lyric writing. Obviously, it's nothing new or revolutionary to be a bisexual woman, but I like that there's some exposure given to that with this track. The fact that Jaregui happens to also be a bisexual woman makes the track feel that little bit more authentic, because, as Halsey said herself, it would make no sense to include a straight girl on the song. So it's definitely nice to see this song's formation. However, I don't like that she's tried to brand it as an "LGBT" love song, because honestly, it's not. The song by no means focuses on the LGBT aspect of things - it's a tragic love song that just so happens to be about two women. If it was the case that this is an LGBT power song, then literally any song about two men or two women could be branded as such. Still, the concept the song is really cool, the story told in the lyrics is super interesting and a life and character feels brought to the other girl in the story. Production-wise, this song is really, really good. I also enjoy Halsey and Jaregui's voices together, they mesh really nicely. One thing I'd like to make a point of though, is that I wish it felt less like a "standard" feature song - the two artist's having separate verses and then trading a bit in the bridge. It would've been nicer had it been structured a little differently. 9/10
     
    14. Angel On Fire: I have little to no thoughts on this song because of how purely forgettable it is. Not to say that it's necessarily a bad song, but god damn is it forgettable. When thinking of the album's tracklist I can almost never remember this one. It has no distinct qualities about it and it fades into the background completely. Lyrically, there isn't much happening at all, and it doesn't even feel like there's much of a cohesive concept going on within it. The production is just really standard, and there's nothing too cool going on with the voice. Again, not a bad song, but absolutely no personality. A shame too, because the title of the song is really cool. 6.5/10
     
    15. Devil In Me: I do have some conflicted feelings about this track but they are mostly positive. I do definitely think it's a strong track and I think Halsey's vocals are really, really good on this one, it's definitely one of the more prominent tracks vocally. However, there is a slight forgettable factor to this one too, only slight, but it's there. Again, I feel like we didn't necessarily get a full personality brought out with this track. Also, in the same vein as "Bad At Love" and "Don't Play", there feels to be a pretentious quality about this track, trying too hard to be edgy and cool, creating this "ugh there's such a darkness within me" narrative that's been overused and feels really mundane and reductive. Yet still, I don't think the lyrics are bad by any means, if a little repetitive. Something about this track, though, proves to be quite a little bit charming overall, because it manages to stay enjoyable throughout the negative qualities it might have, and that's something really respectable about this one. Again, it feels nice to break away from the romance-centered themes of the album. I like this song, not love. 8/10
     
    16. Hopeless (feat. Cashmere Cat): Please and thank you. Oh my god, this is my favorite track on the album and I literally can't say how much I adore this track. This song is literally so spectacular that it hurts, and it feels like one of my all time favorite songs already. From the first bar of the instrumental this song sounds like a little piece of heaven. Cashmere Cat does an astounding job on the production here and there's such a really cool melancholy and dystopian vibe to it that makes me feel so tingly and weird and I love it. The vocals int he verses are perfect, and are my favorite style of Halsey vocals - classically thin and light, almost ethereal. They are truly something gorgeous and although this song may not necessarily be viewed as a vocal standout, it certainly is for me, because I love the emotion conveyed in this song. Then we move into the pre-chorus which might just be my favorite part of the song, but that would be hard to pick because the whole song is so fucking brilliant. The lyric writing in the pre-chorus specifically is some of Halsey's best lyrics yet - "Cause you know the truth hurts / But secrets kill / Can't help thinking that I love it still / Still here, it must be something real." "Cause you know the good die young, but so did this / So then it must be better than I think it is / Give me those eyes, it's easy to forgive". There is such a beautiful and poetic quality about those lyrics that leaves me shook everytime. And then we get to the hook with the distorted vocals which is absolutely spectacular and I adore it so much. That same structure repeats a second time for the rest of the song's duration but the second hook adds one of my favorite parts of the song - where Halsey sings the haunting line "I hope hopeless changes over time" multiple times. Something about it is so haunting an beautiful. The story in the lyrics of this track is something so beautiful and chilling. Overall, this is honestly one of the most spectacular songs I've ever hard, and beats out on "Drive" as my new favorite Halsey song. 10/10
     
    Overall: 128.5/160 or 80%
    Favorite songs: Hopeless, Heaven In Hiding, Alone, Sorry
    Least favorite songs: Bad At Love, 100 Letters
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