The origin of the world
8 September 2021-
Halsey is back with a 4th album that remarkably plays to her musical strengths — as well as personal: an hymn to feminism and motherhood at a time when both topics are sadly in the news...
Halsey has been one of the most interesting — and bold — female voices to emerge from the (electro) pop music realm in recent years. Not an entirely easy feat: it happens to be remarkably packed, with the likes of Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Selena Gomez, Lorde… And that’s just top of mind: an astounding amount of female pop talent has been gracing our ears, not that we would complain. So it seems fitting that Halsey’s 4th studio album, the aptly named If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power — produced by none other than superstar producing duo Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross — tackles some of the trickiest topics out there: feminism and motherhood.
At a time when women’s reproductive rights are quite literally under attack (and not just in Texas: Eastern Europe for one has recently witnessed the same rise of misplaced bigotry), Halsey comes back with a crystal clear statement, which she should not have to make but does — women are one powerful force to be reckoned with. Arguably the strongest, considering that they are the ones giving birth, i.e. creating life, not to mention the fact that they also constitute the majority of humanity. Interesting to see how a de facto majority is being treated like a discriminated group by an angry male minority…
But back to music: when some of her fellow pop superstars opt for minimalism, to the point of breaking away from many of the electronic elements that have become a mainstay in contemporary popular music, Halsey espouses the sophistication of electropop. Not that the album does not sound utterly intimate at times: just think about “Darling” or album closer “Ya’aburnee”… But, for the most part, we are treated with a first-class meal of Reznor-esque producing splendor: meaning that nothing is ever superfluous, and everything is always beautifully crafted. From the vocal arrangements of “The Tradition” to the pristine beat of “Lilith” or the anthemic “I’m Not A Woman, I’m A God”, you can tell this is a highly cohesive and well thought-out collection. Then you have the rock-infused “Easier Than Lying” or “Your Asked For This”: Olivia Rodrigo, beware!
All in all, this album presents the highly satisfying statement from one of the most interesting and authentic voices to come of the new pop generation. Miss Halsey, please continue!