By Caroline Meister
When I say “Halsey,” what do you think of? Is it the smash hit “Closer” that is still playing on the radio almost a year after its release? If you answered yes to that question, you’ll probably love her new single, “Now or Never,” as it is very reminiscent of that pop hit. Unlike her debut album, Badlands, “Now or Never” is rooted in electronic pop. That’s not to say that Halsey hasn’t been classified as a pop artist, because she has. However, she has always belonged on the more alternative side of the pop genre, with the likes of Troye Sivan and Walk The Moon.
Halsey has created a new sound for herself, at least on this single. This new sound is a mix between Kehlani and The Chainsmokers, both artists I love and respect as musicians. It’s not that I dislike the new sound; I am just simply surprised by it. “Now or Never” was not what I expected, and that’s okay. However, I was very disappointed with the writing in this song. I feel that Halsey could have (and already has!) done better. The lyrics are basic, formulaic, and lack her usual fire. For an artist that has always tried (and succeeded, for the most part) in standing out from the crowd, I feel this is a step backwards.
However, I didn’t not like this single. I think it’s very catchy. I’m just not sure it’s a good representation of Halsey as an artist, or at least the artist I knew a few years ago. With the success of “Closer,” I feel that Halsey has an increased presence in the public eye. When she created Badlands, she was practically unknown. Now, with one album under her belt, she can no longer hide under the pretense of being inexperienced. It’s a lot of pressure to not only please old fans, but also gain radio attention and new fans in order to continue to have a career. I think these pressures are influencing her songwriting and the direction of the new album.
This song doesn’t make me excited to listen to hopeless fountain kingdom. I hope that this is just a fluke, and the rest of the album will be fantastic, just like I expect from Halsey.