As a writer and avid reader, it could be guessed that I’m a fan of storytelling; there’s something about a good tale that hooks your attention that can’t be topped. I feel the same way about music–more specifically, albums.
When an artist releases an album, you can assume that it’s going to be one of two things: a compilation of radio-topping singles that keep you jamming but aren’t full of lyrical genius, or a carefully planned tracklist of songs painting a journey for the listener to embark on. I prefer the latter. That being said, let me introduce you to one of my favorite albums: “Badlands.”
“Badlands” is the debut album from female singer-songwriter Halsey. The album was released in 2015 and debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200.
The best part of “Badlands” is the story behind the album and the experience you have while listening to it front to back. It paints a picture of a fictional dystopian society called Badlands that is surrounded by a desolate wasteland, keeping its residents contained to the Badlands. Through the tracklisting and the music videos produced for the songs, Halsey creates a tale of the people in this wasteland while also connecting it to actual struggles that she went through in her day-to-day life.
While “Badlands” refers to the dystopian society depicted throughout the songs, Halsey also uses this phrase to describe her mental state during the writing of the album: desolate and lonely. While the song has its singles and catchy pop anthems like “Roman Holiday” and “Colors,” it also has some darker lyrical hitting tracks, “Gasoline” and “Control,” that connect you to the hard times that Halsey was experiencing while writing and recording the album.
Whether you’re listening to follow the dystopian storyline of The Badlands or you’re trying to connect Halsey’s dark experiences to one of your own, “Badlands” provides a listening experience that takes you on an emotional journey. Either way, the tracklist provides a story that makes this album a forever favorite for the story-loving listener.