Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Halsey ft. Big Sean & Stefflon Don – Alone

‘Till now…


Micha Cavaseno: “Alone” in its original rendition was pretty untouchable as it was: a post-Weeknd take on show-tunes style splendor to convey self-loathing with all the egotism necessary to take off like a rocket yet still feel leaden. Somehow of course, we apparently had to be treated to the wonders of two rappers who could never muster serious introspection. On one hand, you have Mid Sean himself, all celebritarian glitz and insistent insertion of self-importance. Then on the other hand you have an untimely Stefflon Don beatswitch into dancehall-style Minaj Core. In either gesture, you get gross missteps of recognition to how to complement this song, failing its original potency.

Ryo Miyauchi: Loneliness, destructive tendencies, a mind allergic to commitment: “Alone” is a warning to these toxic flaws of Halsey, apparently, though the baroque pop melodrama makes those treacherous flaws seem seductive. That trap-inflicted, percussive pre-chorus puffs her nights of emotional solitude into a grand hip-hop boast, like she’s more proud than soul-crushed of her shallow celebrity life.

Alfred Soto: I’m wary of Halsey even with a sample of “Nothing Can Stop Me” and am downright hostile to Big Sean — the nerve of his accusing her of “livin’ in a bubble!” Stefflon Don does her best.

Crystal Leww: Get those cheques, Stefflon Don, I guess.

Stephen Eisermann: This song is too pretentious for its own good, and not even a solid verse by Big Sean can fix that. Additionally, it’s unnecessarily busy and noisy, which I guess is symbolic of the noise and loudness of real life? Right? I just want to know why it’s so damn cacophonous. 

Claire Biddles: Halsey’s vocals are a little more relaxed than usual; a good match for the spacious production on this pleasant if unremarkable summery track.

Katherine St Asaph: Social anxiety is defined as the “intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others.” In 2018, this is also known as “awareness of reality.” We (the royal we, the editorial, etc.) exist in public, with public profiles and public follower counts and a public record of every bit and thought of our personality that we’ve poured out to be scraped or screenshotted or ratioed or ignored at any time, because as the teens say, “otherwise we would have no life.” But worse is the semi-private underbelly: the message chains that stop, the unfollows and the mutes, the numbers in your call history, the Cambridge Analytica profiles and Tinder ELO ratings and Twitter engagement stats, which permanently encode everyone’s thoughts on you. I call it the cosmic scoreboard: the chart of everyone who knows of you, alongside their opinion. It grows daily, and because opinions travel, exponentially. If you’re lucky, you add to to the scoreboard well; it’s like a heady cloud, uplifting like clean perfume, in which to stride through life. If you don’t, the cloud is your own opposition research, everpresent and suffocating. There are those who dislike you with reason and probably forever; their faces remain in your face. There’s the person who unfollowed you the first time you hung out at a party, during the party. There’s the person you met at some other party, a Cosey Fanny Tutti show they say, not that you remember. There’s the person you’d text hourly, incandescently, until they met the rot and suburbia that overgrew the persona they expected. There’s the person who talks about your rare, great connection, as you make the lips smile and the hand grasp and the torso cuddle as the rest of you, the unconnected parts, are elsewhere, remote and disconnected; anything to preserve that row of the scoreboard. Being a celebrity must magnify this 10,000 times, but you don’t have to be one to be devastated, every time, by “I know you’re dying to meet me, but I can just tell you this: baby, as soon as you meet me, you’ll wish that you never did.” It helps to have it set to a track that sounds like Everything But the Girl’s Walking Wounded in drunken mono-focus, a Marilyn McCoo sample about love distorted into a terrified blur, vocals climbing in scale and intensity like a panic attack. The album version’s a [10], but this isn’t; Big Sean is Big Sean, one of the lyric’s “million people trying to hit it” given half the track to try, and Stefflon Don, while well deserving of a US push, is completely out of place. But I’ve listened to this altogether too often, usually around 2 a.m., and it’s exactly the sound in my mind.

Reader average: [7] (1 vote)

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4 Responses to “Halsey ft. Big Sean & Stefflon Don – Alone”

  1. Katherine’s blurb is incredible

  2. ^it got me to finally hear the Tracey Thorn album and I’m so glad I did

  3. yes katherine

  4. against my better judgment the Calvin Harris remix of this is a banger