halsey new album

Why you need to hear Halsey’s ‘If I can’t have love, I want power’

Halsey is an artist who’s been on the scene since 2014, and has consistently produced successful music the entire time. From her debut pop enthused album Badlands, to her deeply personal 2019 release, titled Manic. The singer has consistently charted, and has a dedicated fan base behind them.

All this considered, however, nothing could have prepared me for their recent release, If I can’t have love, I want power. The record, produced by Nine Inch Nails members Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, is a storm from beginning to end.

When announcing the album, Halsey described it as ‘a concept album about the joys and horrors of pregnancy and childbirth.’ The singer recently gave birth to her first child after being open in the past about her struggle with miscarriages. Listening to the album through this lens just elevates the moments of heartbreak and elation within it.

The cover of the album, a shot which could have been taken straight from an art museum, features the singer topless, sat on a throne and holding a child. The image makes a statement, and Halsey herself explained this in the previously mentioned album announcement.

“My body has belonged to the world in many different ways the past few years, and this image is my means of reclaiming my autonomy and establishing my pride and strength as a life force for my human being.” – Halsey

This celebration of the human body, and the wonders of pregnancy, made the album a hot topic before it had even been released. The singer made it clear from the very beginning that their fourth studio album would be a statement.


Halsey unveiling their album cover at the Met Museum


Ask for forgiveness, never permission

The album opens in a big way. The Tradition is a slow start, with mellow verses building up to a powerful chorus. Mentions of ‘the loneliest girl in town’ instantly drag the listener headfirst into the story of the record. And then, once your feet are firmly planted in this world Halsey has created, the rest of the album guides you through their captivating narrative.

Halsey and the pop-punk perfection

As a long time lover of pop-punk music, I found myself drawn to tracks such as Easier than lying and Honey. These tracks inject a more upbeat feel into an emotionally heavy album. Not to mention, Halseys vocals fit perfectly into these types of songs.

If you want something you can jam out to, I’d recommend these songs. Although their lyricism does not falter in comparison to other tracks, they’re definitely more palatable than some of the darker songs on the record.


Halsey: Real, honest, and painful

Mental health has always been a tough subject to discuss. Whether this is in real conversation, online posts, or even in music. Halsey breaks a wall down with her music, however.

Manic, her previous release, is an open and honest album about the singers personal life. They’ve been consistently vocal about their mental health struggles, including their diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Their recent release is no exception to this. Tracks such as Lilith, You asked for this, and Whispers showcase this the most.

Halseys use of honest and raw lyricism, alongside mellow beats and heavier instrumentals, makes these songs hurt to listen to, you can feel her pain, and you truly hear the struggles that went into this music.

Ode to a child

As mentioned before, Halsey has been open about her past struggles with childbearing. On her previous album Manic, the song More acted as a message to the child she would one day have, but had lost many times before.

On July 14th 2021, Halsey gave birth to their first child, after years of struggle. Her pregnancy had a large influence on this album, and its clear through tracks such as Darling, 1121, and the closing track Ya’aburnee (Arabic for ‘you bury me’). When these songs appeared amongst the pop-punk instrumentals and cinematic imagery that’s present within the rest of the album, it took me by surprise.

Not only is the album full of love for their child, but also fear of the pregnancy they will have to go through. They’re honest, about the horrors of pregnancy, which are so often ignored.

Hearing Halsey beg for the safety of themself and their unborn child, whilst also singing about their love for a human they haven’t even met yet, is what really makes this album impactful. The raw emotion is so present, even when paired with soft vocals and lullaby-esque instrumentals.

‘I’m singing to my child, saying all the things I want them to know, god forbid something happens to me’


I am not a woman, I’m a God

When describing this record, Halsey has often referred to the dichotomy of Madonna vs The Whore. This is the idea that a woman can either be chaste and motherly, or sexual, and a ‘whore’. She sings of her sexual promiscuity alongside her journey into motherhood, and she lets the two co-exist in a way that society often shames.

The entire album speaks of sex and power in a non-taboo way. Two songs really highlight this for me, and that’s Girl is a gun and I am not a woman, I’m a God. I often find myself putting these songs on repeat, because they instill a sort of confidence into a listener.

An important album

For the past couple of weeks, ever since the release date, I’ve had this record consistently on repeat. I feel as though I could never tire of it. Halseys talent, passion, and emotion, really shine within every single track. From the upbeat pop elements, to the raw emotions backed by deep bass, there’s something for everyone on this record.


The album was also accompanied by a feature length film, released in certain cinemas around the world.

I can’t speak on this production, as I did not get a chance to see it, however, the stills and snippets which I have seen truly show how this album tells a story and embodies a concept.

If you listen to just one album this year, make it If I can’t have love, I want power. 

I promise there will be a track you enjoy, and the incredible storytelling will for sure draw you in.

In discussion with Zane Lowe, Halsey stated that they feel this is their perfected concept album, and I have to agree.

My own personal top tracks from the record are Honey, You asked for this, and Darling. 

If you’ve listened to the album, feel free to share your own thoughts and favourite songs in the comments!

If I can’t have love, I want power is available on most streaming platforms. You can also visit Halseys website to purchase a physical copy. 

Purchase the album 

Zane Lowe interview