Album Review: If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power by Halsey

If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power by Halsey

Release Date: August 26th, 2021

Label: Capitol Records; ℗ 2021 UMG Recordings, Inc.

She was sweet like honey / And all I can taste is the blood in my mouth / And the bitterness in goodbye

honey by Halsey

Mother. Warrior. Killer. Queen.

Just when I think Halsey is finished surprising me, she releases an album like If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power. Produced by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails fame, Halsey’s senior effort showcases the work of an artist who has come fully into their own. If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power is lush, cinematic, and crackling with electricity. Its shifting tonality is also quite pleasing, going from the heavy industrial sounds crafted by Reznor and Ross on songs like “Bells in Santa Fe” to the tender guitar-driven lyricism of songs like “Darling”—like chasing salty fries with greedy gulps of ice-cold Coca-Cola.

If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power is lush, cinematic, and crackling with electricity.

Everything in the album from the artwork on the cover to the lyrics speaking of the beauty and heartbreak involved in childbirth and motherhood, invokes religious iconography of the Holy Madonna.

I am not a woman, I’m a god / I am not a martyr, I’m a problem / I am not a legend, I’m a fraud

I am not a woman, I’m a god by Halsey

All in all, H4 is a powerhouse of a record, shattering expectations and assumptions while asserting a confidence borne of both pain and pleasure. Honestly, I’m kicking myself for not preordering the limited edition vinyl. If you know where I can get one, email me. 😭😭😭

Favorite Tracks

“You asked for this”, “honey”, and “I am not a woman, I’m a god”.

If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power is available to order or purchase wherever music is sold.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please like, comment, follow, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at fred.slusher@thevoraciousbibliophile.com or catch me on Twitter and Instagram @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.

All Hail Halsey: New Baby, New Beats

Ashley Frangipane, otherwise known as global superstar Halsey, has been quite busy lately. They dropped their third full-length LP Manic in January of last year. 2020 also brought us collaborations between Halsey and Kelsea Ballerini (the other girl), Juice WRLD (Life’s a Mess; R.I.P.), and Marshmello (Be Kind).

As if this wasn’t already a bountiful Halsey harvest, she also released her first collection of poetry, I Would Leave Me If I Could, in November.

Now, Halsey has welcomed their first child with boyfriend Alev Aydin, named Ender Ridley Aydin. Emergent motherhood must bolster creativity in some way, because shortly after giving birth, Halsey also surprised us with news of the release date for their new album, due out on August 27th, titled If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power. Just from the title alone, we can probably anticipate fare we’ve come to expect (and adore) from Halsey: angst tinged with tenderness, stories of survival, and declarations of love steeped in her own mythos.

Just from the title alone, we can probably anticipate fare we’ve come to expect (and adore) from Halsey: angst tinged with tenderness, stories of survival, and declarations of love steeped in her own mythos.

How are we supposed to handle all of this? I know 2020 gave a lot of us more time to create, but I don’t know if I can emotionally process new bodies of work by Billie Eilish, Lana Del Rey, Lorde, and now Halsey all in one year. This isn’t even mentioning Red (Taylor’s Version) due out in the fall, which is sure to make mincemeat of our hearts. If only I could get someone to fall in love with me and break my heart before then, so I could really appreciate the album the way it was meant to be appreciated.

I guess I’ll have to find a way to cope. It looks like Adele and Rihanna are hell-bent on making us wait for new material, and at this point I can only say thank God, because that would really be too much.

Thanks as always for being a faithful reader of The Voracious Bibliophile. If you like what you see, please follow, like, comment, and subscribe to my email list to get notified of new posts as soon as they drop. You can also email me at thevoraciousbibliophile@yahoo.com or catch me on Twitter @voraciousbiblog. Keep reading the world, one page (or pixel) at a time.