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.