Preview | Halsey, hopeless fountain kingdom

Halsey, hopeless fountain kingdom © AstralerksWith three singles arriving ahead of ‘hopeless fountain kingdom,’ what do we know so far about the sophomore album from alternative superstar Halsey?

June 2, 2017 is the date that every music lover should have circled on their calendars. The biggest release arguably comes courtesy of Halsey with her sophomore album, hopeless fountain kingdom.  Halsey had a great run with her 2015 debut, Badlands, which debuted at no. 2 on the Billboard 200.  Hopeless fountain kingdom features three guests: Quavo (“Lie”), Lauren Jauregui (“Strangers”), and Cashmere Cat (“Hopeless”).  The album runs 16 songs deep in its deluxe version.  Three singles arrived prior to the album: “Now or Never,” “Eyes Closed,” and “Strangers.”  What do those three singles tell us about what to expect from hopeless fountain kingdom?

Single No. 1, “Now or Never

On promotional single “Now or Never,” Halsey seems firmly planted in pop. The modus operandi for the single is love and non-love. Halsey keeps it real, yet simple. From her perspective, her lover is “hot n cold.”  This isn’t innovative in subject matter, production, vocal performance or otherwise, but has plenty of hit-potential written all over it.  It doesn’t blow anyone away, but it’s enjoyable.

Single No. 2, “Eyes Closed

“Eyes Closed” opens mysteriously, possessing a darker quality.  Halsey delivers vocals drenched in reverb on the first verse.  Much like the sound established, the vocal vibe is similarly enigmatic.  Essentially, Halsey sounds hazy, with the lyrics matching the haze with a lack in depth.  The vocals are clearer on the second verse. The chorus serves as the best moment of the record.  “Eyes Closed” is easy on the ears, but not particularly accomplished. Ultimately it feels a bit empty.

Single No. 3, “Strangers” ft. Lauren Jauregui of Fifth Harmony

“Strangers” is groovier than the previous two singles. Ultimately, it possesses more of a danceable quality. More interesting than the production is the content of “Strangers.” Early on, without knowing background on the song, it’s clear that “Strangers” is an LGBTQ song. It’s likely to raise eyebrows given its perspective.  It’s much more intriguing than “Eyes Closed,” the single that preceded it. It also gives “Now or Never” a run for its money. Conceptually, it keeps things fresh, potentially erecting more buzz for hopeless fountain kingdom.

Final Thoughts

Based upon three singles, it’s hard to tell exactly how hopeless fountain kingdom will turn out.  The most intriguing of the three singles arrived last, “Strangers.”  “Eyes Closed” seems to be the weakest of the three.  “Now or Never,” the promo single, was respectable, but not earth shattering.  Hopefully, there’s no sophomore slump for Halsey though.

Halsey • hopeless fountain kingdom • Astralwerks • Release: 6.2.17 
Photo Credit: Astralwerks

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