Halsey’s “hopeless fountain kingdom” is a Safe Haven

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On October 13th, I attended Halsey’s concert at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The concert was part of her hopeless fountain kingdom tour, named after her second album. Halsey was the sole headliner, with Charli XCX and PARTYNEXTDOOR as the opening acts (and G-Eazy appeared as a surprise guest!).

Halsey’s tour has been praised for her use of visuals onstage, which were present throughout the entire show. She had colorful images of flowers, lovers in embrace, and other motifs that connect to the lyrics on her album on the screens behind her. She also incorporated dance elements occasionally into her performance with one dancer, and went through about five costume changes. It was easy to see that she is extremely devoted to her craft, and it was gratifying to see her smile at the enthusiasm of the crowd during the show. Halsey is from New Jersey and based her stage name off of Halsey Street in Brooklyn, so she considers herself to be a Brooklyn native, which made this show at Barclays Center all the more fun. She told us she felt good to be “home.” I got the feeling that “home” for her was not just a physical place, but was also the energy of everyone at the concert and their reaction to her new music.

When hopeless fountain kingdom first came out, I found it to be something of a departure from her first album, Badlands. The lyrics in her new songs are more blunt - they’re not as riddled with metaphorical language. Even though Badlands was candid and relatable, something about hopeless fountain kingdom feels rawer and more honest. Halsey tackles topics like mental health and loneliness, her bisexuality, the price of fame, and her relationship failures, among others. And when she performed some of the songs from this new album at the concert, I could clearly see the impact of this change.

Concerts are always wonderful, because even if you have a seat all the way in the back, you still feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself. Everyone in the room has something in common with everyone else, even if only for just a few hours. And when it comes to the subject matter of Halsey’s music, that united feeling becomes even more important.

The public conversation surrounding mental health has been inching toward progress in recent years, but I would argue that openly discussing one’s depression or loneliness with others is still something of a taboo. Halsey’s candor in her music is interesting in this way, because when everyone in an arena is singing along to a song about these kinds of issues, it feels less dangerous to discuss them. Many people are drawn to Halsey’s music because they find something in her lyrics that reflect something within themselves, and having a connection like that can have a huge impact on someone. It helps them realize that they’re not alone. Put hundreds of these people in a room at the same time, and that feeling increases tenfold.

Before singing her new single “Bad at Love,” Halsey even introduced the song by telling the crowd, “We’re going to have a little therapy session right now.” She recognizes the positive impact her music has on the conversation surrounding mental health among her listeners, especially among teenage girls, which I would argue is her main demographic.

Halsey’s music isn’t exactly hopeful or optimistic, but it does spread positivity in its own way. She acknowledges that people are not always going to feel okay, nor do they have to. She understands that one’s outside expression of happiness is not always consistent with what they are feeling inside. And, through her connection with the crowds during her tour, she is helping others realize that none of us are truly alone - we all have people who understand what we are going through.

About The Author

Erica is studying English and creative writing at Barnard, and hopes to write a few novels of her own someday. She's still figuring out life in New York City, but so far she's just glad that the pizza is better here than in her home of Orange County, CA.