Halsey, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom
New Jersey-based Ashley Frangipane, aka Halsey, never shies away from creative experiments, even if some are less than perfect. That attempt to stretch is evident throughout her second studio effort, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom
, beginning with its strange Shakespearean introduction. While Halsey works the bad-girl image in external collaborations with the likes of Chainsmokers, her own lyricism is more intelligent, mixing feminism and vulnerability in equal measure. Halsey has neither hidden nor flaunted her bisexuality, though the songs written for women, like the impressive “Bad at Love,” seem to carry the most integrity. As such, she can be forgiven for occasional overdose of Autotune or reliance on vapid orchestration, even if fans might wish for something less pop-star and more Halsey. But despite a focus on fame that could compete with Lady Gaga, Halsey has more than enough talent to justify her single-minded drive.
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Charli XCX, Lorde, Ryn Weaver