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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

Set in a city where no good is done, “Badlands” by Halsey was released in 2015. The concept album sent Tumblr into a spiral. The dystopian aesthetic combined with the angst of teen spirit made this album a statement for teenagers at the time. Halsey herself says that the badlands was a metaphor for the state of mind she was in, thus creating an album full of alternate realities for her listeners.

To me, the most important song on “Badlands” is “Hurricane.” The song heavily references the importance of a young girl’s worth. She falls for a guy who all of her friends say is bad for her, so she doesn’t let herself stay and get hurt. She says, “I’m a wanderess, I’m a one night stand, don’t belong to no city, don’t belong to no man.” No one can mess with her, not even the boy she loves. She’s reminded to keep this boy away from her which inherently starts a storm. 

The album is like having an older sister give you advice. She’s made her mistakes and is sharing her stories with you so you don’t go through the same experiences. Inevitably, the teenage mind takes over and mistakes are made. But it’s okay, you live and you learn. We go through phases of forgetting who we are and relearning ourselves. This album is a heavy reminder that: “if you lose yourself, it is never too late to find yourself again.”   

When I place myself in the badlands, I instantly return to being 16 years old. My hair was bright red and my style was so inspired by grunge Pinterest. I felt like the physical embodiment of the “Badlands.” Back then I barely knew how important this album was, but when I listen to it now I realize why it meant so much when it did. I was able to relate to so many songs without thinking twice about it. 

Hearing the lyrics “I’m bigger than my body, I’m colder than this home, I’m meaner than my demons, I’m bigger than these bones” at such a young age was a turning point for me. I never thought of these as negative lyrics but as a story that I won’t let anyone, even my state of mind, empower over me.

The comparison of girls to hurricanes, pretty mouths, and demons in lyric form is more important than the ear hears. It takes a certain person to listen to the album and fully digest every lyric. The badlands truly signifies a land where no good takes place. It’s not only a concept to listen to, it’s a lesson to remember.

Sophia Jundy is a sophomore at Michigan State University studying journalism, graphic design, and photography. Her end goal after university is to work with pop culture magazines and social media. She joined her campus looking for more opportunities and is actively looking to expand her knowledge in writing, editing, and reporting.