“Hopeless Fountain Kingdom” Isn’t So Hopeless

Halsey talks heartbreak, rebellion in new ‘concept’ album

By Kaila-Marie Hardaway Managing Editor

On June 2, Halsey released her sophomore album “hopeless fountain kingdom,” a concept-album centered around the Shakespearean tale “Romeo and Juliet.”

Coming off of her feature on the hit Chainsmokers’ song, “Closer,” Halsey had a lot to live up to with this album. Despite minor letdowns, this album is definitely one to listen to this summer.

“hopeless fountain kingdom” consists of tracks centered around Halsey’s love life and struggles as a young, self-declared “tri-bi:” biracial, bipolar, and bisexual. The subject matter of each track stands out, despite the common subjects of heartbreak and living rebelliously.

“Walls Could Talk,” a seemingly random track on the album, is the standout track. Featuring sharp violins and a 90s pop/R&B rhythm, this song discloses back-and-forth arguments between Halsey and a past lover. Despite their hardships, they are very persistent with their relationship, which may or may not be for the better. This song is addicting, and due to its short length of a little under two minutes, it is one that you will play over and over again. It’s hands down the most memorable song on the album.

“Sorry,” a piano ballad, is raw and powerful. Halsey relies on her vocals and allows them to shine on this track as she apologizes for her mistakes to her loved ones and hints at her bipolarity. Despite the instrumental simplicity, this song stands out due to its all-around authenticity.

Other tracks such as “Bad at Love,” “100 Letters,” and the album’s lead single, “Now or Never,” feature a solid beat and lyrics that are relatable to just about everyone who has experienced adversity. Regardless of these similarities, they are diverse in style and make the album distinct and versatile.

Despite my love for the tracks individually, the album does fall short when it comes to fact that it is a concept album. As soon as I heard about the Shakespearean concept, I was immediately intrigued on how it would be implemented. However, the approach falls flat and is only seen during certain aspects of the album, such as “The Prologue,” which is a direct quotation from the play, and “Good Mourning.” Otherwise, there is no implicit storyline to the album which could have largely benefited the concept.

Instead, the element that makes this album stand out is the subject matter. Although the majority of the tracks revolve around Halsey’s love life and struggles as a young woman, she does so in a genuine, artistic way.

Additionally, within weeks of the album’s debut, Halsey has already experienced substantial success. “hopeless fountain kingdom” granted Halsey the #1 album on the Billboard 200 chart and made her the first woman to top the charts in 2017. More importantly, this album allowed Halsey to break away from “Closer” and re-affirm her place as a solo artist. Overall, I highly recommend giving this album a listen, whether you are a Halsey fan or not.

Recommended songs: “Walls Could Talk,” “Bad at Love,” “Sorry”

Least favorite songs: “Good Mourning”

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