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Album Review: Halsey’s, “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power”

On August 27, Halsey released her fourth studio album, “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power”. After announcing her pregnancy in January of this year, many fans — including me — assumed the 26 year-old singer was going to take a break from making music for a while. But boy, were we wrong. 

In June, Halsey blessed our Instagram feeds with the announcement of her new album accompanied by an hour long film event with IMAX, and a one-night-only livestream performance of the album. 

Halsey takes us through the joys and horrors of pregnancy and childbirth with this concept album. It has a looming dark tone throughout the 13 songs with alternative rock and pop-punk aspects. 

Although the accompanying film and livestream event are equally amazing and help bring her album to life, I am just going to be reviewing the album itself so I don’t ramble too long. 

The Highs

Although every song on this album has a special place in my heart, there are a few that hit the mark right off the bat. 

“I Am Not A Woman, I’m A God” (Track 11): This song might be my favorite one on the album — “might” being the key word here. It might be because it reminds me a little bit of some of her songs off of her first studio album “Badlands” — still my favorite album she has — but there is something nostalgic about it. It’s one of those songs I can see myself singing at the top of my lungs in the car, something that gets stuck in my head easily. It might not be the most groundbreaking, risky song on the album, but I love it. 

“Honey” (Track 9): The moment this song came on, it reminded me of the pop-punk songs I loved in high school. Right off the bat, you are hit with upbeat drums and guitars with a summery vibe. This is a song that really makes me want to dance and scream at the top of my lungs. Definitely playing this one on repeat. 

“Tradition” (Track 1): Trigger Warning: implied sexual assault in the song. THE STORYTELLING! I have always known Halsey to be an amazing storyteller in her songs and this track definitely lives up to her reputation. This eerie song tells a story of a young woman being “bought” into the life she thought she wanted, but it turns sour. I wasn’t sure at first how this song was as the opener for her album until I got to the bridge that shows off her amazing vocals, honestly amazing. 

The Lows

There are very few songs on this album that took me a couple listens to fully enjoy. I think it should be mentioned that there are songs that are not as entertaining, like many other albums.  

“Bells in Santa Fe” (Track 2): The beginning of the song got me excited with the bell-like sounds through the first verse. Once the chorus came, I was expecting an epic beat drop into one of her pop-punk, alternative rock jams, but I was sadly met with the same beat throughout the rest of the song. This song feels like there could have been something amazing to it, yet it felt safe to me. One of my skips for sure. 

“Whispers” (Track 10): This song caught my attention at the beginning of the song with the eerie piano notes. Then, the chorus really made me question if this song was something I could find myself listening to often. The whispered parts of the chorus make me feel a little uncomfortable, but maybe that was what she was going for. Either way, this might be one of the few skips on this album.  

“1121” (Track 8): Although the lyrics of this song are amazing as I have always found with Halsey’s songs, I found “1121” to be nothing groundbreaking. It is one of the three ballads that she added to the album, and don’t get me wrong, I love a good ballad, but something about this one compared to the others she has written doesn’t measure up. I found myself a little bored halfway through the song. 

Despite the highs and the lows of this album, it has become one of my favorite albums Halsey has come out with. The combination of her storytelling, her smoothly unique voice, and her way with poetic lyrics mixed together perfectly to form, in my opinion, one of the best albums to come out in 2021 so far. I highly recommend you give it a listen. 

Overall Album Rating: 9.5/10

Marissa is a senior studying Journalism at Loyola University Chicago. She is originally from Colorado, and loves the mountains and the outdoors. She has been writing for so long that it is now basically a personality trait. As someone who loves to travel, adventuring around Chicago to find new places to eat and see, fashion, art, and who can always enjoy a good book she hopes to connect with and share her experiences and interests with the HerCampus readers!
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