Tuesday, October 1st, 2019

Halsey – Graveyard

It’s officially Halloween season…


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Katherine St Asaph: Just in time for October, Halsey follows up “Nightmare” with a similarly themed single, except that if this is a graveyard, it’s one on a college campus that’s currently hosting the theater majors’ 9 p.m. picnic. The folksiness comes from cowriter Amy Allen, and while “Graveyard” is probably a better song after going to Halsey (if it hadn’t, the electronic burbles would probably be ukeleles), it’s still not ideal as a Halsey song. Also, why did everybody start biting “Heartless” all of a sudden?
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Joshua Copperman: It’s no “Nightmare,” but it’s a hell of a sweet dream.
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Kayla Beardslee: I didn’t love “Nightmare,” but at least it was interesting. This is not. This is embarrassingly anonymous; this is a saltine baked by Maroon 5; this is a Taylor Swift-level lead single misstep for how little it makes me care about the upcoming album. The production, the lyrics, the vocals are all so equally bland, so clearly designed to be nothing more than middle-of-the-road playlist fodder, that looking for meaning in any specific aspect of the song feels like trying to climb a rope made of water.
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Michael Hong: On “Graveyard,” Halsey is vulnerable and reflective, no longer in the state of seething rage like her previous two singles. I just wish that didn’t mean making something so underwhelming that’s not nearly as bold and dynamic as “Nightmare” nor as catchy and solid as “Without Me.”
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Wayne Weizhen Zhang: As a huge fan of “Closer,” it’s been both surprising and disappointing to me that I’ve never been able to get into Halsey’s music. I’ve listened to her albums, seen her #1 single, and thought she has a fine voice, but for the life of me still can’t really remember what any of her songs sound like. “Graveyard” is a perfect example of why: earthy production and a solid songwriting conceit make for an adequate song, but Halsey herself brings nothing of note outside of one gasp. The charisma just isn’t there. I always feel like I’m experiencing her singing from across a canyon with thick fog — which while theoretically cool, is mostly just disengaging. 
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Alfred Soto: I’ve struggled to understand what “Halsey” signifies. Capable of harrowing pop, she too often records gestures of empathy that trip over hackneyed metaphors and the most basic elements of electronic pop. “Graveyard” is another. How cool if she had buried the lover instead of herself. Her fans would’ve appreciated a little Goth. 
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Joshua Minsoo Kim: Puts too much faith in its bubbly electronics to carry the song. Or, at least I hope that was the intention here; this has no sense of dynamics, no semblance of personality. Halsey only really knows how to sell songs with obvious drama, not this sort of cutesy, low-key fare.
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Tobi Tella: After releasing one of the best songs of her career, Halsey retreating back to chill pop and kicking it off her album is a shockingly on-brand move. She’s her own worst enemy as an artist: constantly posturing as alternative while trend chasing, when her more out there songs are almost unanimously better. There’s nothing wrong with “Graveyard,” but there’s nothing interesting about it, either, and it’s instantly forgettable. One step forward, two steps back.
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2 Responses to “Halsey – Graveyard”

  1. “And let that sink in.” Not even fifteen seconds into the song, and Halsey already feels like she’s clocked out from a midnight shift of emotion — the only time of day when the heart seems to overpower the mind. Instead, the singer trades sentiment for ambience (not so much the shift from guitar to electronica, but the misplaced echoed lyrics and ah’s that seem to reverberate from some distant cavern), and it’s at times like these when you wonder where the magic of “Is There Somewhere” was lost.

  2. Somebody should have brought back “husk of a title” for this one

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