I did not expect to find an album like that of Halsey's Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, at the moment when pop is characterized more by its concern and urgency to sell songs as attractive as possible to the large audience of disposable music and, to create videos that are sometimes pretexts to hide the bad of the songs and thereby boost their sales. Pleasing at all costs and, just looking at the money, is what has made this genre undesirable for many artists who have the need to express everything they have inside the soul with the purest honesty and artistically translate all your concerns. I have always believed that there is no problem with musical genres, the problem is when we put aside the essence that gave life, to focus only on the commercial. Of course, the record industry has a great responsibility in this, however, artists and the public also have responsibility. The artists, because they succumb to the threat of not being massively disseminated and because money is really a great temptation for conformist minds, and thus have ended many careers that promised to be great. The public, because throughout history it does not punish bad quality, on the contrary, it awards it by buying really bad albums or by attending concerts by artists who do not deserve it just because there is nothing else to do on the weekend. And if there is nothing else, it is because the public does not demand it, does not reject everything that does not comply with a minimum standard of quality and honesty. Fortunately, there are exceptions. And I think that one of the elements that has greatly favored the emergence of real jewels and that the public begins to understand that there are excellent manufacturing options, in addition to sending a strong message to record labels and producers to do things with higher quality, are social networks. The variety that is presented there is very good, good, regular, bad and very bad; and that's perfect because the thermometer that these audiences mean is the guide for all those involved in the music business, to guide their work. In addition, many of the options are completely independent and have found a way of life without having to depend on the record labels and all their restrictions, and that has favored the creative process free and uncompromising, has rewarded the artist to continue working on their art without having to do anything else to pay their expenses, which would invariably affect the quality of their music. The effect caused by this, fortunately, is that the industry has been forced to seek or train artists who meet these new demands of the public to not be left behind and disappear, so more and more record labels open their doors to artists that maybe a few years ago, when they monopolized everything we could see and hear, it would have been impossible. This is how I understand the emergence of artists like Halsey.
One of the things that I liked most about the Hopeless Fountain Kingdom album is that it really fills me with hope about what is to come in this new musical environment generated by the irruption of social networks and an audience that is starting to awaken. See how the artist cares about offering a work that responds to a concept and a philosophy of life that goes through very dark passages of the writer and identifies with many of those who listen to it. Unpreoccupied by this artificial aesthetic that characterizes the most decadent pop, Halsey dares to say things that for some would be very difficult to express and for others, it would be incorrect to say it. The album does not have any relation with the commercial formulas, from the beginning we can testify with "The Prologue" which is an album beginning out of the conventional, seeing the videos that accompany some of the themes, we appreciate that our singer does not worry about looking like a Barbie all the time, what makes her look, in the eyes of everyone, like a human being like all of us. That simple detail brings the artist closer to her audience, instead of turning her into something plastic and unattainable, as is the case with many pop singers. As much in the song "Now Or Never" as in others of this album, it draws the attention the incredible similarity of Halsey's voice with the one of Ellie Goulding. I'm not trying to compare them at all, it's just that I was struck by that resemblance, however, the differences in styles, philosophy and artistic aspirations are diametrically opposed. Another thing that contrasts with the style that is reflected in this album, is the attraction of Halsey by the Korean boy band BTS, with whom she collaborated in the song "Boy With Luv" for which a video was recorded in which the singer also participates. And it is not that it is bad, but that the style of this album and her personal search in the songs contrast with that of BTS and their musical style. But out of there, everything is fine with that friendship and artistic collaboration, after all, human beings have guilty pleasures and maybe this is one that Halsey has shared with her fans and those of BTS.
Halsey has commented that the artists she most admires, among others, are Amy Winehouse and Alanis Morissette, but I must confess that I do not hear much of the influence of those singers in her work. However, other influences are noticed not only from artists but from rhythms, the case of the song "Walls Could Talk" is the example that the singer is eager to present her audience with novel alternatives. With a beginning where the strings predominate, it is not well understood where the song is going, but close to half, we understand that everything is a good Latin rhythm that makes us move our feet, and then it finishes almost as it started. I was very pleased to hear this and other things contained in the album and, as I said at the beginning, it fills me with the hope that more and more artists have enough support to be able to risk in a genre that is increasingly devalued in terms of quality of the products presented.