Halsey blurs line between influence and imitation

By Adam Schalke

When listening to American pop singer Halsey’s debut record, Badlands, one can’t help but feel a sense of deja vu  . That’s most likely because  her music seems to borrow from its contemporaries much more than it can give back. The music that Halsey wrote sounds as if she’s trying to switch between the brooding lushness of Lana Del Rey and the electronic stomp that composes much of Lorde’s catalog, and the result is predictably lopsided. The lyrics also seem underwhelming, and come off as just ever so slightly uninspired.

The track “New Americana” has a chorus of “We are the new Americana, high on legal marijuana, raised on Biggie and Nirvana, we are the new Americana”, which reminds me less of a thoughtful, purposeful call to the members of Generation Y (ages 18-35) and more of John Belushi’s “when the going gets tough” speech from Animal House (that, and only some four percent of the country actually has access to legal marijuana).

None of this is to say that Halsey has made an unlistenable album, or even a bad one. She has a fine voice and cites an expansive variety of artists as her influences, the problem is that Badlands just sounds so remarkably average and derivative that there’s not much to say about it on its own merits. Perhaps after finishing her upcoming North American tour, Halsey can take some time to put her wide arrange of influences into better use on her follow-up.

"Badlands" blurs line between influence and imitation

“Badlands” blurs line between influence and imitation

1 / 5 torches

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