Here at The Honey POP, we truly believe Halsey has some of the best lyrics out there! Their work perfectly balances specificity and directness with romanticizing and poetry. Unsurprisingly, Halsey put it best when she pointed out her ability “To make a memory, Out of a feelin’” in her song ‘I HATE EVERYBODY.’
We’re not the only ones who think Halsey has the best lyrics out there! She’s one of the most popular artists on the planet right now, and even has a ton of famous fans. Still don’t believe us? Halsey released a poetry collection last year, I Would Leave Me If I Could, which truly showcases their talent, including extended versions of some of their songs!
What better way to start this list than to throw it all the way back to Room 93 and Badlands? Halsey’s very first song set the bar for her storytelling capabilities and the electro-pop that became a signature sound for Halsey’s first eras.
All about the sour taste after a broken young love, this song is the perfect tastemaker for Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, Halsey’s second full-length album. Halsey is an artist who executes concepts better than anyone, and this, along with the actual intro track ‘The Prologue’ truly set the scene for the tale of star-crossed lovers she goes on to tell.
‘Is There Somewhere?’
Of course, we had to include this fan favorite! Even Halsey can’t believe how much their fans love ‘Is There Somewhere?’ and still includes it in their setlists as recently as the 2020 Manic World Tour (which then sadly got canceled halfway through). The beat drop is truly like no other and this song proves that Halsey’s artistry really has always been that good.
Conceptually, this is arguably Halsey’s strongest song (sorry, ‘killing boys’). The anthem, from the new album If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, has imagery so potent that you can practically taste the salt air. Plus, in an album filled with incredible, gritty, production, the last minute or so of this track stands out as some of the very best.
It’s about the juxtaposition, people! There is something so beautiful about songs that have joyous production and despairing lyrics, and this song does that better than most. At first, the song sounds like it could be a house party anthem, but it’s actually far more like sitting in the backyard, maybe hanging out with the party host’s dog, feeling more awkward and lonely than ever. And that’s if you even go.
‘forever… is a long time’ / ‘Dominic’s interlude’ / ‘I HATE EVERYBODY’
Ok, so maybe we’re cheating by grouping these songs together, but we have a good reason! The transitions through these songs are elite tier, and something Halsey then continued to utilize in the follow-up album IICHLIWP. The confessional storytelling takes us on such an emotional rollercoaster, without ever feeling disjointed – especially impressive when you remember that Halsey’s not even singing on the second of these three tracks. Also, honorary mention to the extended version of ‘forever… is a long time’ in I Would Leave Me If I Could.
This song is Halsey at their best and most defiant. It’s the ultimate hype track that doesn’t sugarcoat anything about the speaker or listener but celebrates every part of someone’s personality (or persona). This is another song that showcases Halsey’s specificity, this time at its most biting.
‘More’ is Halsey at her most vulnerable and open, which is saying something. Halsey has been very public about their experiences with endometriosis and miscarriages, and this love song to a wished-for child is even more special now that Halsey is a mom! On Mother’s Day 2020, Halsey dedicated this song on her Instagram to “all the moms that are, that have been, that could have been, that will be, that want to be, and everyone who loves them along the way.”
‘I’m Not Mad’
Guess what? Halsey was in fact very mad. One of the (many, many) things she’s great at is tongue-in-cheek and self-deprecating lyricism. This deep cut from the deluxe edition of Manic is so well-written in the way that it points fingers at the villain whilst poking a little fun at the speaker themselves. For neither narrative to overshadow the other requires a writer to toe a very fine line, and at this point, it feels like Halsey is doing cartwheels on it.
‘Bad At Love’
This song is one that showcases again the incredible specificity of Halsey’s work. For a song to be this detailed whilst still being totally accessible and relatable to an audience takes a truly talented storyteller. We’ve never had a boy back home in Michigan who tastes like Jack, but you know what? We get it.
Lyrically, ‘Nightmare’ is almost to Halsey what ‘Blank Space’ is to Taylor Swift, but darker, rife with rage over celebrity, sexism, and political tragedy. The punk anthem’s timing was incredibly significant, both politically, and in the canon of Halsey’s career – directly after their biggest pop hit to date – ‘Without Me.’ Halsey is an artist who can dabble in all genres with success, and 2019 was a year that proved that more than any other.
In case we haven’t made it clear – Halsey is an artist who does it all: the best lyrics, poetry, make-up, and being a voice for their generation. We’re lucky to live in the same timeline as her!
Featured Image Source: Halsey Via Instagram