The 22 year old singer, Halsey, rose to fame with the release of her debut studio album, Badlands, in 2015. On June 2 of this year she released her second studio album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. The album hit number 1 on iTunes as soon as it was released and stayed there for the next couple of days.
All this hype surrounding the album after its release (and prior to it as well) raised my expectations a bit too much. Hence, when I first gave it a listen it felt like a bit of a letdown compared to her previous album. But, as I kept listening to it I grew to like it quite a bit.
Just like her previous album, this one is a concept album as well. According to Halsey, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom was inspired by William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. In the opening track “The Prologue”, she recites the prologue of the play and then the rest of the album continues to tell the tale of two star-crossed lovers. While Badlands touched darker topics and showcased the difficult state of her mind during that time of her life, this one has a much lighter premise and focuses mainly on love and heartbreaks (in the Halsey way of course).
Musically this album is quite similar to the previous album but with a pinch of hip hop. The songs are also a bit fast paced than her previous works. My absolute favourite tracks from this album are “Bad at Love” (because #relatable) and “Strangers”. These are the kind of songs that's perfect for when you're staring out of a rainy window while contemplating where you went wrong with life (and love).
Other memorable songs from the album were “Eyes Closed”, “Angel on Fire”, “100 Letters”, “Now or Never”, and “Alone”. A few of the shorter tracks such as “Lie” and “Walls Could Talk” felt like fillers and the album could have easily done without them.
All in all, for me this album did not live up to the previous one but if you're ever stuck in the deadly Dhaka traffic and need some upbeat techno pop to blur out the sounds of car horns, give Hopeless Fountain Kingdom a listen.
Tasnim Odrika is having an existential crisis at the moment and doesn't really know who is anymore. Send her compliments at firstname.lastname@example.org