Singer Halsey (Ashley Frangipane) explores the experiences of pregnancy and childbirth, along with the horrors associated with them, in their fourth studio album “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power.” Halsey’s pregnancy with their first child had a heavy influence on the themes, writing, and production of the album.
The album is a departure from the decidedly pop sound of Halsey’s previous two albums, “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom” and “Manic,” and is much closer to the alternative style of their first album, “Badlands.” The album asserts itself as a work of alternative rock, partially due to the collaboration between Halsey and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails, who helped write and produce the album.
Songs on the album vary in subject matter, from a mournful song about miscarriage (“Bells in Santa Fe”) to sexually charged song about failed sapphic romance (“honey”). Other songs featured on the album include “1121,” titled for the day Halsey found out they were pregnant, and “Ya’aburnee,” a love ballad to their partner and newborn son.
Thematically, the album is feminist to the core. Its handling of themes of femininity, sexuality, pregnancy, childbirth, and more are all handled in a way that is centered around the autonomy of the person exploring them. All in all, this album is a lyrical and musical powerhouse and an empowering work of art. — Kyla Wilson