Halsey is back with her first new song not as Halsey. Technically, "Without Me," is still released under that moniker, but — as she explained in an interview with Zane Lowe on Thursday (October 4) — it's the first time she's written a song using her real name, Ashley Frangipane.
"It's just me. No wig, no colorful hair, no character, and it’s about my life and about my relationship that the world has watched so closely and so vehemently in the past year and a half," Halsey explained, emphasizing that "Without Me" is a standalone track that's not part of some grand Shakespearean concept album á la last year's Hopeless Fountain Kingdom.
The relationship in question is Halsey's romance with G-Eazy, which has been plagued by his rumored cheating and their brief split over the summer. The couple has since gotten back together, but "Without Me" seems to reflect on their torturous time apart. "Tell me how's it feel sittin' up there / Feeling so high but too far away to hold me," she sings. "You know I'm the one who put you up there / Name in the sky / Does it ever get lonely? / Thinking you could live without me."
For dramatic effect, the song even nods to Justin Timberlake's spiteful 2002 breakup hit "Cry Me a River" with the lyrics, "You don't have to say just what you did / I already know / I had to go and find out from them."
Recording the track, Halsey admitted, was an emotional process. "I cried the whole time I recorded it," she tweeted. "But now I feel proud. And empowered."
See Halsey further discuss "Without Me" in the Beats 1 interview below.