Ashley Nicolette Frangipane or more commonly known by her stage name, Halsey (named after the subway stop on the L train in Brooklyn), put out her album Badlands in the summer of 2015. The New Jersey native singer-songwriter released her first EP Room 93 in 2014 after gaining attention when she uploaded her song "Ghost" on SoundCloud. Badlands has 11 tracks and runs for 40 minutes.
Over a year ago, Halsey was couch surfing, living out of a duffel bag and staying at her manager's parents' house. Fast forward to a year later, and she’s living in Los Angeles, headlining tours, and selling out large venues like Madison Square Garden.
In an interview with Z100, Halsey talked about the concept and naming of the album. She explained that Badlands is a city that emerges in a "post-apocalyptic society." The area surrounding it is all desert, which keeps the people in the Badlands from leaving and prevents anyone from getting in. While writing the album, Halsey realized that the Badlands is actually just a metaphor for her lonely state of mind with the hope that there's an escape.
The album begins with “Castle” an easygoing song with simple lyrics and a steady beat. Following is, “Hold Me Down” a darker tune with stern, emotional vocals and riveting synthesizers.
The third track, “New Americana,” is a single off of Badlands. With fun lyrics, enchanting instrumentation, and a dynamite chorus, it's sure to be the anthem of this generation.
“Drive” is the perfect song to listen to during any road trip because it's calm, blissful, and features actual car noises as sound effects. In an interview with Complex, Halsey talked about the production of the song:
The idea of Badlands was creating a space with sound, which is a really difficult thing to do. I was in a session with Tim Anderson, and he was just playing around with these low, vibe-y sounds, and then I wrote “Drive” in probably about 10 minutes. So I read the song out loud to him, and he looks at me and mutes the rest of the track and turned up the bass, and it was the sound of a car engine. And I was like, “This is fate! Let’s do this thing!” And so we got into it, and I asked about putting the sound of a door opening or seat belt sound in there. We end up starting the song with this signal sound of “ding, ding, ding.” And then I took the song to Lido who executive produced the whole record, and he turned that “ding” into an actual beat that followed through the song. That ended up creating this genius moment in the center where the door slam and beat all match up and it puts you outside of that car.
Songs we recommend are “Castle,” “Hold Me Down,” “New Americana,” “Drive,” “Coming Down,” and “Roman Holiday.”
For Halsey's latest news, tour dates, and music check out her Zumic artist page.