Halsey was a self-described "tornado of anger and productivity" while recording Hopeless Fountain Kingdom — her sophomore LP, due out June 2 — and fans are finally seeing what she's been working on since her debut Badlands dropped nearly two years ago.
"Badlands was about this girl living in this postapocalyptic society and not wanting to escape and knowing she should, which was kind of a metaphor for a mental space," Halsey explained in an interview with iHeartRadio. "Some people find themselves, myself included, comfortable in their depression. You know what it means to get better and what you have to do, but sometimes it's easier to just kind of, like, wallow in your misery."
"For me," she continued, "Hopeless Fountain Kingdom is a story of two people who want to be in love so badly they're willing to change themselves for their love and in doing so, they let the real versions of themselves die. It's a Romeo and Juliet story."
On Tuesday (April 4), Halsey's "Now or Never" music video gave fans a first look into her star-crossed concept. Benny Blanco — one of her "favorite people in the world" and someone she called her "therapist in a weird way" — produced the track, along with Cashmere Cat and Happy Perez. "We'd finish the track and then be ready to go, and [Blanco would] be like, 'Hey, I heard that thing you sang. Are you OK?' It was kind of like he was hearing a cry for help in what I was singing, which was cool because it made us bond."
This outpouring of emotion is what makes Hopeless Fountain Kingdom so powerful. The songs are full of self-awareness and maturity: "I'm not afraid to say hey, I'm the shitty one here — not you."