Halsey’s Next Step.

I’ve recently become rather obsessed with Badlands, the debut studio album by Halsey, after seeing her live in concert a few weeks ago.  Sure, I was a fan of a couple of songs, but seeing her bring them alive made me delve deeper into the album and pretty much fall in love with most of the songs (or, rather, all).  While Badlands has become one of my favorite albums this summer, Halsey has only had moderate success with it.  Yes, it debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 – an incredible feat for a new artist – but none of her singles as lead artist charted except “New Americana,” which only managed to hit number sixty on the Billboard Hot 100.  Not bad, but she’s not in the stratosphere that someone like Meghan Trainor entered with her first album.  It’s not that I think success is determined by chart performance or album sales, but I’m such a fan of Halsey’s that I wish other people knew about her.

Currently, Halsey is sitting on top of the Billboard Hot 100 at number one with the Chainsmokers with their song “Closer.”  When I heard the news, I was excited that this was a perfect opportunity to help Halsey get more exposure.  Certainly she’ll see some units of Badlands move. It’s kind of like the Chainsmoker’s last hit song “Don’t Let Me Down (feat. Daya),” it helped get Daya’s name out there more.  But, being me, I like to pretend what I would do if I was the manager in this case.

My fist instinct is that Halsey should release her first single from her next album relatively soon, to follow up “Closer.”  If it’s timed correctly, it could create a great launching pad so as to avoid the cursed sophomore slump.  However, I’m not sure Halsey is at the point where she’s ready to release a new album.  After all, Badlands is barely a year old, and she’s been on tour for almost three years…I believe an artist needs time to figure out their life and emotions to write and create great music; she shouldn’t rush into it.

My next thought was that she should release one more single from Badlands or perhaps rerelease a single.  “Hold Me Down” has been one of my favorite songs from Badlands since I first heard the album.  It’s got an incredibly catchy chorus, and it was certainly a fan favorite at the Badlands Tour – it was one of the songs that really got the crowd going.  I’ve always thought it had single potential.  And it charted to number seventy-eight in Australia, so there’s a definite market for it.

But when I was sitting in traffic this morning, blaring Badlands, I was wondering why a song like “Colors” (the third single) didn’t perform as well (it failed to chart in the US).  It has such a powerful chorus that really locks you in.  I’ve always had a problem with the verses of the song, especially the first verse.  It’s not really enough to grab you in and keep you to the chorus.  A true fan will listen to it in it’s entirety, but it couldn’t survive on radio.  So how can we make it radio accessible?  Then it hit me: remove the verses, and make it a feature song, kind of like what Taylor Swift did it with “Bad Blood” and Sia just did it with “Cheap Thrills” (both songs ended up at number one).  If they could find a rapper or some artist who perhaps had a bigger following add in their own verses, it could drive audiences in to want to hear more from Halsey.

Again, I do want to say that I don’t think an artist needs to have a number one song or album to be successful.  For me, if an artist writes/performs one song that song changes one life (for the good), then the artist is a success.  But I think Halsey has such great potential to grow her audience and fanbase, and with her talent, she really should take advantage of it.


I started playing violin when I was five years old.  There was a tradition in my town where all the students would come together and perform a concert.  The most advanced student would perform a solo, then the next advanced would join them and they’d play a duet, and so on until everyone was on stage.  To top it all, every song had to memorized, making it a rather difficult competition (if you were up first, you had a lot of songs to remember).  When I was about seven or eight, I decided I wanted to be number one.  So I practiced and practiced.  And I didn’t get it, but I was like number two or three…I was really high up.  To say the least, I was pretty excited.

There I was the night of the concert, waiting for the soloist to finish to join her on stage to play our duet.  I waited, my teacher introduced me, and I made my way to the steps to the stage.  And I promptly tripped and fell.  My violin shot out of my arms and shattered. In front of the whole friggin town.


My teacher ran up to me to make sure I was okay, and I very clearly remember her telling me I could sit the concert out.  I just stared at her on the verge of bursting into tears and said “No, but I don’t have a violin.”  She handed me her violin and I played the concert.


Flash forward thirteen or so years to my senior of high school.  In that time I had started playing the cello, guitar, and dabbled in piano.  My teacher back then was (and I think still is) the orchestra conductor for the elementary, middle, and high school…basically I studied with her for thirteen years.  It was the night of our last orchestra concert before I was graduating and going to college.  Our orchestra was making our way up on to the stage and she was sitting back stage collecting herself (she gave a rather emotional speech when she introduced us…she was losing a lot of students who she knew since a really young age).  I was last in line, carrying my cello.  Just as I was walking up the stairs, I tripped just like so many years ago.  This time, however, she caught me.  She  then chuckled and said “careful, you wouldn’t want to trip.”

It’s just funny that my whole music career with her basically started and ended with a trip.


My Experiment with Apple’s New Wireless Headphones

There I was, my phone charging but in need to listen to music.  Obviously I didn’t just want to sit there with the headphones strapped in, but I did get a pair of the new wireless headphones Apple is rolling out to replace the white earbuds we’ve all got used to.  So, I decide to test them out.


The new “wireless” headphones

First, they’re not really that glamorous looking…I’m almost certain in a year or two, we’ll look back at these as though they’re prehistoric…kind of like the first cell phones.  They also moved the volume/pause button from the right to left ear bud, which is kind of annoying (unless I have the earbuds in backwards, which would be awkward).

But I have to say the sound quality is not that bad…when you’re in range.  I figured while my phone was charging in my bedroom, I could go outside and do various activities (e.g. doing cartwheels without worrying that my phone will fall out of my pocket…although, I’ve never actually done a cartwheel successfully, so I guess that point is mute).  I managed to get downstairs and perfectly hear the music just fine.  My evil plan was working (muhaha).


Then I made my way outside.  It started to get choppy.  So I stopped moving, figuring the waves had to catch up with me (because I obviously move faster than the speed of light), and the sound came in better.  I started to move again, no problem…I must’ve fixed the problem.  I made it all the way to my car to get something, and had no real issue…I could pause it and play the music, it was awesome.  There were some choppiness, but it wasn’t bad, it was kind of like listening to the radio going in and out.  Then I made my way to the backyard to visualize myself doing the hypothetical cartwheels, and the choppiness grew.  I noticed if I stood still, the sound came in better.  If I was moving, the music would stop.


So now I’m laying in my bed next to my charging phone, writing this and listening to music with the wireless headphones…which kind of defeats the purpose since I could just use the wired phones…

I guess the moral of the story: you need to have your phone in your pocket to use wireless headphones.


Tove Lo is a “Cool Girl.”

Tove Lo made waves in 2015 with her hit singles “Habits (Stay High)” and “Talking Body.”  Now she’s back with “Cool Girl,” the lead single for her upcoming album, Lady Wood, which is due out in the end of October.

I first heard about “Cool Girl” from Lorde and her producer Joel Little.  They were tweeting about how great it was, so I had to take a listen.  I mean, if Joel Little – who I’ve admired his production work – says a song is awesome, he must speak the truth.  At first, I wasn’t that chuffed – the beginning is a bit slow.  But once we hit the chorus, the song just takes off.  Not only does the chorus of “I’m a cool girl, I’m a, I’m a cool girl” grab you in, but the synth/bass work is fantastic.  It’s a great electronic song to bike/run/dance/exercise to.

New Americana – Acoustic

I’ve been slightly obsessed with Halsey’s album Badlands – it’s an infusion of electronica, alternative, and pop – and I managed to scrape the last ticket to her Badlands Tour.  I’m speaking literally, not figuratively.  I got the last ticket.  TicketMaster had a diagram and there was one seat left and I took it.  Out of sheer excitement, I’ve been listening to  Badlands on repeat, preparing for the show.  During my listening quest, I stumbled across this acoustic version of “New Americana.”

I’m almost certain this person stripped her vocals out of the album version and just layered them over the piano, but I still thought it was amazing, particularly the first verse.  With just the piano, the song is so fragile and beautiful.

This now makes me wonder how she’ll perform the song in concert….so freakin’ excited!


There I was on July 31, standing outside the book store, rushing in to  get “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”  While it occurs twenty years after the seventh book (it actually starts at the epilogue) and it’s not a novel but a play, I was ecstatic to finally be reading a new Harry Potter story.  So there I was, first in line (it actually kind of was serendipitous…I didn’t camp out or anything, I just showed up expecting loads of other people in line and no one was there), ready to make my purchase, my inner child was squealing.  It felt like I traveled through time back to when the books were being released.  I then raced home and opened my copy, savoring the moment, wondering if this truly would be the last time I’d read a Harry Potter story for the first time.


I haven’t finished “Cursed Child” – I just started the fourth act, I’m savoring it- but so far you can tell J.K. Rowling didn’t write the play completely by herself.  Apparently she helped come up with the idea, but it was really written by Jack Thorne, but it feels a little like a bad fanfic.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible – any Harry Potter is better than none – and it grabs my attention and it’s very fun/easy to ready, it’s just not the usual J.K. Rowling I’d expect.  I mean, in her seven novels, J.K. Rowling thought everything through.  For instance, I read an article once about how Professor Trelawney in HP3 says that if thirteen dine together, the first to rise is the first to die.  Then in later books, there are dinners where thirteen people dine together and the first person to rise was the first to die (Sirius, Dumbledore, and Lupin).  I haven’t actually gone through and checked to see if this is true, but it’s something J.K. Rowling would do: she puts so much minor detail and attention in it, that every time you read it you get something different out of it.  However, “Cursed Child” seems to lack this continuity.

Hermione-Granger-harry-potter-37266338-250-250Not to give anything away, but, for instance, in “Cursed Child” everyone refers to Voldemort as Voldemort.  Everyone.  Not just Harry, Ron, and Hermione.  All the people who, in the books, were too afraid to use his name all of a sudden could use it.  Yes twenty years have past, but in the books twenty years past after Voldemort first vanished after killing Harry’s parents and they still called him “You-Know-Who.”  What’s more, everyone refers to Malfoy as “Draco” (his first name).  It’s so bizarre.  For seven books he was “Malfoy,” and then all of a sudden he’s “Draco.”  There are just moments where I sit back and scratch my head and think, “This isn’t right.”

I will say, though, that I thought reading the play would curb my desire to rush off to London to see the play.  It, however, probably did the opposite: so much action and magic happens in the play, I’m so curious how they perform it on stage.   I mean, to see it performed would be awesome…I hope they film it for those of us who can’t make it to London.

Anyway, I don’t write this to dissuade anyone from reading “Cursed Child.”  It’s great to be back in the wizarding world and checking up on our old friends, but be prepared for it to be different. Let’s hope, though, that this inspires J.K. Rowling (and only J.K. Rowling) to write more Harry Potter books!