2016 was a big year for Halsey: her tour for her 2015 debut Badlands wrapping up in a big way after the album's smash success, her feature on one of the most popular songs of the year (The Chainsmokers' 'Closer'), and writing for her next record. She recently confirmed that her next album will be arriving this year, and we've just gotten the first taste of what that record might sound like.
Halsey's first new original song since Badlands is her new single 'Not Afraid Anymore.' It's a brand new sound for her, but at the same time it feels like its intrinsically a Halsey song. What's immediately striking about this song is its delivery. The song begins ominously and atmospherically, the warm, optimistic instrumental pairing with Halsey's calm and composed assertion of "I am not afraid anymore / Standing in the eye of the storm / Ready to face this, dying to taste this, sick sweet warmth." The song is built from sensuality (fittingly, as it comes from the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack), offering up a familiar taste of longing in Halsey's voice. That longing is also bathed in a sense of growth and progression, though.
What's great about this song is that it really can't be anyone else's song but Halsey's. Everything that made Badlands so iconic is present in this song: the dark subtley of 'Gasoline,' the badass, confident vibes of 'Castle,' and the anthemic moods of 'New Americana' are just examples of what prevails in 'Not Afraid Anymore.' On top of all of these familiar elements comes new cinematics, too; the Trent Reznor-reminiscent instrumental pairing with a huge orchestra to make this song even more epic and sensual than it already was. The chunky bass gives the song a bit of edge too, the percussion backing it with lots of drive. Halsey's soaring vocal delivery is the icing on the cake, as she really shows her prowess here.
There's a lot of epic moments in this track that really makes it something special. Halsey's cries of "And touch me like you never, and push me like you never" in the choruses ring with such a sensual and powerful feeling that they make the song's huge chorus even bigger. The bridge is just pure energy and sensuality, the slowly building orchestra moving under Halsey's words and exploding before a dramatic pause, the final chorus kicking in full force. This song never rests, nor does it stop giving - every listen gives you something new to appreciate.
2016 was a big year for her, but Halsey's about to take 2017 by storm. She's currently recovering from some intense surgeries as a result of complications with endometriosis - we hope she's having a swift and good recovery! Once she's back up, we know she'll be back up and biting, ready for a taste of this new power.
Rating: 93 / 100