hopeless fountain kingdom
Her music is completely her own, and if Badlands didn’t already feel like Halsey, HFK will certainly steal its thunder.
With additional notes by Zac Walters
There’s no other way to put it – Halsey’s hopeless fountain kingdom is a concept of its own.
Halsey is a modern-day favourite among female alternative artists and has been well known in the scene since 2014. Her powerful and raspy vocals were a new sound for listeners, bringing along lyrical content littered with occasional dark imagery and topics that showcase her in a way other artists often conceal. hopeless fountain kingdom, or HFK for short, is no exception.
Bringing forth thirteen new tracks (sixteen if you snatch the deluxe) to her sophomore album, HFK tells quite a story; a story so complex, in fact, that it already has an article on the backstory that helps to understand it fully.
HFK tells the simple story of two lovers, but Halsey does an incredible job of differentiating the sound of each track to make the story something fresh. Opening track “The Prologue” provides a brief explanation of the album’s themes before listeners follow the story of two forbidden lovers, Solis and Luna. While it may sound like something you’d hear at the beginning of a history documentary, the complexity of the album’s story shows that it’s (unfortunately) necessary. Things start to pick up with second track “100 Letters”, though; adding to the diversity of genre influences with bongos becoming a prominent addition to the vocals.
“This type of courage to go into such detail and open about her hardships in her music is not something that should go unnoticed.”
While Halsey’s debut LP Badlands stuck closer to “electro-pop”, her experimentation with multiple genres on HFK takes her musicianship to a whole separate level. “Alone” gets you groovin’ with a 1920’s-esque vibe, while the song “Lie”, featuring hip-hop artist Quavo, mixes things up with an R&B take to alternative.
Despite a theme based around the relationship of these two fictional characters, tracks like “Eyes Closed”, “Sorry”, and “Bad At Love” show Halsey’s personal struggle with love in a way other artists don’t often expose. Lyrics such as “If I keep my eyes closed he feels just like you”, “he wants me in the kitchen with a dinner plate” and “I can sometimes treat the people that I love like jewelry”, all tell her listeners that she’s been broken, she’s lost, cruel in relationships that maybe weren’t so healthy. This type of courage to go into such detail and open about her hardships in her music is not something that should go unnoticed.
While still managing to incorporate the same sounds fans first fell in love with, HFK is one hell of a step up from Badlands. New sounds, deeper content, and a freaking storyline to follow?! HFK proves even further that Halsey is not afraid to make a statement, in both her variety of sounds and lyrics. Unlike other artists of her genre, she tells it how it is, and this should be admired. Her music is completely her own, and if Badlands didn’t already feel like Halsey, HFK will certainly steal its thunder.