Halsey has been taking over the pop/electro scene bit by bit over the past year, and her latest release is going to rock your world. It’s everything you love about Halsey: heart-wrenching emotion delivered in a mix of her trademark voice and unique lyrics; with undertones of The Weeknd’s style: dark angst, an r/b influenced-beat. This combination is peppered all over the track: in the little dips of Halsey’s voice that match the trademark dips in The Weeknd’s melodies, particularly as she sings “it’s all a sign;” the razor-edge to the beat (Abel) and the hints of electro (Halsey); and it’s even in the range of lyrics (heartbreak, hints of sensual duplicity).
An article in “Rolling Stone” magazine called it “sinister-sounding,” and after listening to the song a few times, I couldn’t agree more.
It’s no surprise that The Weeknd co-wrote the song (just check out their interview with Rolling Stone if you don’t believe me). After all, she opened for him on tour following the release of his second album “Beauty Behind the Madness”. Their trajectory as their music has evolved indicates that they’d be the perfect match. Halsey has gotten darker and more introspective, while maintaining her pop background. The Weeknd has begun blending pop/electro themes into his music (as evidenced in many tracks on his third album, “Starboy”), while staying true to his roots in dark, sensual lyrics. The best creative growth, after all, is one in which an artist can embrace and incorporate new styles while staying true to their roots.
Her interview with Rolling Stone also discusses the influences of film on her music; in the case of her forthcoming album, it’s Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo + Julie” (released in 1996). “One day I realized as I was getting to the thick of the rising action of the record — the moment where I’m realizing that the love is this doomed, forsaken kind of thing, I realize that that’s why I was so obsessed with the film. I felt like I was living it,” she notes of her emotional connection to the story’s trajectory and the director’s depiction of doomed love.
The track image is a card whose design is evocative of Luhrmann’s R+J, with a dagger pinning it to the white background. “Eyes Closed,” the track’s title, is written on masking tape at the bottom; a tear at the bottom slices her name in half. The black background of the card contrasted with the angel’s red dress is a perfect visual description of the two artist’s styles coming together in this song.
The Weeknd posted the track image to his instagram, writing his congratulations in the caption: “congrats to this girl on everything. glad i could help bring this record to life. #eyesclosed #halsey”
Halsey’s second album releases on June 2nd, 2017, and is titled “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom.” Check back for thoughts on her lyrics when she and The Weeknd release a music video!