Now Reading: ‘Nightmare’ Is Halsey’s New Feminist ‘Angry Anthem’


‘Nightmare’ Is Halsey’s New Feminist ‘Angry Anthem’

May 20, 20196 min read

From apocalyptic cities to Shakespearian kingdoms, Halsey has taken fans to a variety of places. With her latest single, she has taken fans to a place of female rage and empowerment. Her new era is darker than her previous ones with its evident punk-rock influence

During the first of two intimate “homecoming” shows in which she performed her first and sophomore albums, Halsey announced the release of her newest single, “Nightmare.” Fans excitedly cheered her name as they anticipated her performance and were instead surprised by the news as the lights came up. The release comes just months after her smash-hit, “Without Me.”

Halsey confirmed that “Nightmare” is an angry anthem. Her confirmation wasn’t necessary, though, as her voice and lyrics are full of rage. The song ridicules overbearing men, breaking her trust and deciding what she “can do in bed.” This is very relevant to the recent political and social atmosphere surrounding the pro-choice/pro-life debate. She tackles other, more generic sexist concepts with her portrayal of an over-worked housewife in the “Nightmare” music video.

She discusses many other hard-hitting topics, focusing on self-image, as well. She sings: “stared in the mirror and punched it to shatterscollected the pieces and picked out a daggerI’ve pinched my skin in between my two fingersand wished I could cut some parts off with some scissors”. This lyric deals heavily with insecurity and the pressure of achieving society’s desired body type. Body image is a very vulnerable subject for many, and the way she addressed her own insecurity is extremely powerful. The singer recently mentioned feeling insecure and encouraged others to recognize their vulnerability.

It is believed that she is still writing about her rough split from G-Eazy. Many are seeing a parallel between “Without Me” and “Nightmare,” both dealing with a toxic relationship. In “Without Me,” she sang: “said I’d catch you if you fall… I got you off your knees just so you could take advantage of me”. In “Nightmare,” she sang: “had the rug pulled out beneath my feet… broke down and put myself together again”. At first, she is regretting the amount of help and care she gave to an undeserving ex. Now, she is describing the after-effects of pouring too much of herself into a parasitic person, feeling lost and having to reinvent herself. It is clear that she is beginning to heal and move on. Her newest lyrics show an immense amount of self-growth and development.

Her music video is just as impactful as her lyrics. The video for “Nightmare” is bold and gutsy with leather, housewives and fistfights, as well as guest appearances by Cara Delevigne and Blondie’s Debbie Harry.

Its variety of looks and settings represents the versatility of women. There is a major contrast between her slick-backed style in the city and her luxurious, glitzy look in her heaven-like chambers. She is conveying the message that women can be graceful in full makeup or with blood running down their nose—whether they’re a chiselled model or an iconic rockstar. Her amount of diversity is spectacular and much needed. Women of all sizes and colours fill her video with unique and unmatched beauty, dawning both dress suits and chainmail bodysuits. The video is gorgeous, yet it has a rowdy edge.

“Nightmare” is the first track released off her upcoming album, which is rumoured to be released in October and titled “MANIC.” It is supposedly inspired by dreams, as well as nightmares. At the beginning of the song, she sings a common lullaby: “now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord, my soul, to keep”. These lyrics heavily tie into many theories surrounding the alleged dream concept, as they’re usually sung before sleep. The singer has been teasing lyrics and concepts on Twitter for weeks, answering fans’ questions and confirming assumptions.

‘Manic.’ Possibly a hint at the album name?

From where she stands now, with record-breaking hits, SNL hosting and numerous collaborations under her belt, Halsey has a very bright future ahead of her. Her creative visions are unique and have proven to be wildly successful. Whether her third album arrives this fall or not, we all know what we’ll be bopping (and possibly head-banging) to very soon.

Stream “Nightmare” below:

Featured image via HalseyVEVO

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Mary Dodys

I cover the politics of pop culture—from celebrities scandals to the flaws in cancel culture. I'm always down for an album review, too. You can find me creating, whether I'm writing or painting.

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