Reviews by ANGELIN YEOH
THIS pop act is the stage name for Jack Antonoff, the Grammy-winning producer and songwriter for the likes of Taylor Swift, Sia and Carly Rae Jepsen. Before all that, he made his name through indie pop band Fun, which achieved worldwide success with songs like We Are Young and Some Nights.
With Gone Now, Antonoff is perhaps trying to induce hapless feelings of nostalgia. The whole album has this retro 80s synth-influenced sound which may remind you of John Hughes movies. Catchy anthemic lead single Don’t Take My Money is a prime example of that. Co-written by Lorde, the song is about the insecurities that come with every relationship. The same formula goes for songs like All My Heroes, Everybody Lost
Somebody and I Miss Those Days – all upbeat numbers with cheerful dispositions that mask feelings of helplessness.
Not everything is doom and gloom though, as Nothing Is U is lovely electropop piano ballad powered by realistic optimism (“And I can’t be alone anymore...”). Gone Now’s one glaring mishap is Goodbye, a badly-written tune that could have been a boyband catalogue reject that Antonoff picked up for the sake of irony. If you feel like yearning for better days when everything was pretty in pink, then Gone Now is for you.
THE list of co-writers on Halsey’s latest album reads like a Who’s Who in pop music. The 22-year-old singer got everyone from The Weeknd to Australian pop queen Sia and Adele’s Grammy-winning producer Greg Kurstin.
Hopeless Fountain Kingdom opens with Halsey introducing listeners to the album’s theme about forbidden love through her reading of Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet. The Weeknd’s trademark dark and moody sound is evident in Eyes Closed. It’s an atmospheric electro number where Halsey sings painfully about embarking on a new relationship while still thinking about her former lover (“Now if I keep my eyes closed, he looks just like you...”). If you like The Weeknd then this track will be right up your alley.
Now Or Never is a slow-burning R&B tune that should please fans of Rihanna. Then there’s the introspective Devil In Me which has Sia written all over it.
Unfortunately, it all makes me wonder what Halsey sounds like on her own. Hopeless Fountain Kingdom seems devoid of a track that is essentially Halsey, as almost every number is a generic, uninspiring copy of an existing hit song. It’s a shame, as Halsey has been one of the more interesting pop stars of late with her frank take on identity and struggles with mental disorder. Here’s hoping she lands the next one.
firstname.lastname@example.org Bleachers Gone Now Sony
Hopeless Fountain Kingdom Universal