We may only have to go one more week without Halsey’s new album Hopeless Kingdom Fountain in our lives, but it feels like forever. With Badlands so ingrained in our minds, the slow release of songs from her Sophomore album has been exactly what we’ve needed to keep up going in the lead up to June 2nd.
Following Now or Never and Eyes Closed (of which there is a beautiful stripped back recording that made us all cry), we’ve now been graced with Strangers: a sad duet with Fifth Harmony’s Lauren Jauregui in which we learn what it’s like to feel someone slipping away from the intimacy you used to share.
Besides being totally amazing, and probably my favourite of the three so far, it’s also extremely important for the pride movement. Both Lauren and Ashley are openly bisexual, and while Halsey’s songs have certainly eluded to relationships with both genders before, this is the first one that explicitly uses female pronouns. There is nothing about the track that makes a huge deal out of this fact, and to have done so would have been uncomfortable and inauthentic. Instead, it is subtly representing a group of people who are so often excluded from popular culture in the way that the LGBTQI+ community should be represented: as people who fall in love, who break up, and who hurt.
Sonically, Halsey claims to have pulled from Daft Punk and Stevie Nicks – a combination that shouldn’t work, but somehow the duo pull it off wonderfully. It’s a sad dance track that anyone who has lost a romantic partner will be able to relate to, and while Halsey’s sound has certainly changed since Badlands, she has managed to maintain everything that made her so interesting.
— h (@halsey) May 25, 2017