I’ve been slightly obsessed with “New Americana” by Halsey. Yes, it has a great beat and catchy chorus, but I think it’s lyrically such a clever song (the song starts at 0:29 in the video below).
My favorite part of the song has to be the two verses. The song starts with the line “Cigarettes and tiny liquor bottles/ Just what you’d expect inside her new Balenciaga.” I think this is a clever line because it tells so much in so little words: a Balenciaga is a rather expensive handbag but the character puts self-destructive items like cigarettes and liquor bottles in it to show that while she’s on the top of success she’s still flawed. But she’s part of this new Americana – the next generation of people who have flaws but who work hard. The second verse is similar, with lines “Young James Dean, some say he looks just like his father/ But he could never love somebody’s daughter/ Football team, loved more than just the game/So he vowed to be his husband at the alter.” I honestly think this is the cleverest part of the song because it’s an ode to the legalization of gay marriage (part of the new Americana lifestyle) without outright saying it. The character she’s singing about in this part of the song looks like James Dean, who was a young heartthrob (and, apparently, some people thought he was gay…rumors, though). He’s the type of guy every girl wants to date, but instead of being interest in sports (like most straight men), he’s more interested in the guys playing the game. This, along with the last line in the verse, alludes to this guy being able to marry someone of the same sex.
Production wise, I think the song is a pretty solid alternative/electronica song. If you listen closely during the chorus when she sings the words “Americana” and “Nirvana,” she has this slight lilt in her vocal that’s perfection. It’s very minimal, but so cool.
I just picked up a copy of Halsey’s debut album Badlands which features “New Americana,” so I’m sure I’ll be writing more about her album. From what I’ve heard so far, I think she has a new fan (aka, me).