By Nicolas Jozefczyk | Staff Writer
One may think that a story of star-crossed lovers is old hat, but Halsey has taken the old tale and revamped it for her second album, hopeless fountain kingdom. The story of Romeo and Juliet is quite old, but throughout her concept album, Halsey proves that the same story can still exist in some relationships by using her music to narrate her own broken past loves.
Since it is a concept album, hopeless tells a complete story of lust, love and heartbreak when listened to track by track in one sitting. The idea of a concept album is not new, but more of a rarity in the current music climate since singles are more of the commonality. Although most of the songs on hopeless are great tracks by themselves, the experience is elevated when it is consumed all at once. Halsey made a bold and fascinating creation by sewing together a work that can be listened to on and off but has so much meaning and story when all of the melodies and lyrics are put together.
Lyrically speaking, each line is an individual masterpiece that seamlessly ties together the story of a disastrous relationship beautifully. Some of the lyrics are very blunt and straightforward, such as, “I want you to love me now or never,” or “Make your mind up/ I need you to make your mind up,” found in “Now or Never.” Other songs like “Walls Could Talk” showcase lyrics that have deeper meanings, such as, “There you go playing me like a violin/ Hitting these notes.”
I’ll let you decipher those lyrics on your own.
Halsey has established herself in the alternative scene, and hopeless uses different instrumentation and genre archetypes to meld together a wonderful sound. For example, one melody could have a more electronic tone while another presents a stripped down track with just Halsey’s voice and a piano. There are even times the album feels almost Victorian, transforming its imagery by combining contemporary and newage instrumentation. “Walls Could Talk” highlights this combination the best, using orchestral violins and harpsichord to make the song feel new yet old at the same time.
Featured artists add more depth to the narrative of hopeless and introduce new characters to the story. I find the most prominent feature to be on one of my personal favorite tracks on the album, “Strangers.” The song features Lauren Jauregui, and is a love song about a past same-sex relationship, and considering that both artists identify as bisexual, combining not only their vocals but also their real life experiences makes this tune spectacular. There are also features from Quavo and Cashmere Cat that, through their own style, add tremendous sound and flare to the album.
The only complaint that could arise from this album is if a person listens to two specific tracks as singles, instead of as a whole. Those two songs are “The Prologue” and “Good Mourning.” All of the other numbers can be listened to by themselves, as they are all noteworthy, but these two specifically aim to aid the narrative of the entire work. The main purpose of these two tracks on hopeless is to mark both the beginning and the shift from acts in the overall storyline.
Hopeless fountain kingdom is a spectacular concept album and also an amazing sophomore album. I would recommend buying the deluxe version, as it adds even more narrative and background to the overall story Halsey is telling. Halsey’s hopeless is one of the best albums to be released so far in 2017, and it deserves a complete listen through from any music fan, or even Romeo and Juliet fans.