Halsey

Our favorite artists' music can feel like a glimpse into their lives, a way to connect even more deeply with the disembodied voices that sound so good to the ears.

But the music is really only one side of the person, and often, fans aren't given the opportunity to learn about the true ins and outs of an artist.

That's where books come in. Just like how fiction has the ability to transport a reader to any time or place in this universe and beyond, books written by musicians are like tickets into their mysterious lives.

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Culture News

Halsey and 11 Other Memorable Celebrity Pregnancy Announcements

Halsey just announced she's pregnant with her first child.

Halsey's pregnancy announcement photo

Halsey just announced via Instagram that she's expecting her first child with her partner Alev Aydin.

The post reads, "surprise! 🍼🌈👼🏻 Photos by @samdameshek," she also tagged Aydin over her belly. Aydin soon re-shared the post on his Instagram Story, complete with a pair of red heart emojis.

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New Releases

Should BTS's YouTube Record for "Dynamite" Even Count?

BTS ARMY made sure the new single broke records—whether it was the group's best song or not.

In April of last year, sensational K-pop girl band Blackpink broke a major YouTube record with the premiere of their music video for "Kill This Love."

The video garnered nearly 57 million views in its first 24 hours, narrowly edging out the record Ariana Grande had set several months earlier with her cringeworthy ex-smearing anthem "Thank U, Next."

But less than a week later, Blackpink's record was thoroughly smashed by the slightly more sensational K-pop boy band BTS with the video for their single "Boy With Love," featuring Halsey. The record that had taken more than 14 years of YouTube's slow, incremental growth to set, was—in a matter of days—surpassed by a wide margin.

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"I'm crazy, b*tch," screams Jucee Froot on "Danger," the ninth song on the Birds of Prey soundtrack. "But I'm that b*tch."

That could be the central mantra of Birds of Prey's companion album, which features fifteen sparkling, saccharine, vicious pop songs from some of pop's brightest anti-popstars. These songs are aggressive, feminine, sugary, vicious, and off the rails, just like the movie promises to be.

The film—full title Birds of Prey: The Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn—debuted this Friday night. It tells the story of Harley Quinn, finally freed from her abusive relationship with the Joker, as she heals from the breakup and develops her own super-villain identity.

Harley Quinn's cinematic emancipation has received mixed reviews. "Birds of Prey is happy to play at provocation with swear words and violence while carefully declining to provoke anything like a thought," writes A. O. Scott in The New York Times. Anthony Lane called the film "unholy and sadistic mess" in The New Yorker.

For others, the film's fizzy brutality is exactly the point, and many argued that the film provides a welcome change from both the self-serious superhero machismo that tanked Suicide Squad and the idealized kind of femininity that defines Hollywood's movement towards corporate feminism. "In a world gone mad, the catharsis of Prey's twisted sisterhood doesn't just read as pandemonium for its own sake; it's actually pretty damn sweet," writes Leah Greenblatt for Entertainment Weekly. "Theirs is a contemporary verve that offers a glimpse of something heartening: a future in which all kinds of people get to tell these stories, and we're all the better off for it," writes Richard Lawson for Variety.

As the reviews roll in, certainly more debates will ensue. But if Birds of Prey companion soundtrack is any indication, the movie will inspire a whole host of women to take their power back by any means necessary—most likely while wearing glitter.

The all-female soundtrack is brutally empowering in every sense. It's the sound of sweetness in a world gone mad, of lady mad hatters sitting around and cutting their losses over egg and bacon sandwiches. It's the sound of women relishing in the tropes of pop music and popular femininity while spinning them on their heads. It's a triumph and a delight in the sweetest, bloodiest of ways.

Highlights include Doja Cat's utterly unhinged "Boss Bitch," which leans into archetypical empowerment and breakup narratives so hard that it shatters and becomes something almost mutated and definitely dangerous. Megan Thee Stallion and Normani do something similar with their aggressive riff on "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend."

Halsey's "Experiment On Me" is probably the most aggressive track on the album; it's also one of the hardest to listen to. It's a yowling, overwhelming tune that layers Halsey's shrill screams over punk-inflected guitar.

Charlotte Lawrence's "Joke's On You" is more palatable and just as powerful, leaning into the darkness and complexity of Harley Quinn's story (and of the idea of female redemption through violence on the whole) while layering sultry vocal lines over a tense beat. "We've had our fun; now your sugar makes me sick," she sings. "My makeup's ruined, and now I'm laughing through my tears." All the world's part-time Harley Quinns are, undoubtedly, feeling seen.

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True to form, the songs are gleeful, dark, celebratory, and free. They're embroiled in the business of shaking up existing power structures; and as the voices grow hoarse and furious, their beats resist pleasantness and neutrality, instead leaning towards hyperactive mania. Perhaps because this is a revenge story, there's a sense of perpetual bittersweetness. Lauren Jauregri's "Invisible Chains" dives deeper into the pain and struggle that accompanies Harley Quinn's liberation from the Joker.

There's also a deeper sense of bittersweetness to the whole project, which celebrates Harley Quinn's story as a clear tale of feminist liberation. When women free themselves from men and take power, only togo ahead and commit evil acts and relish in all of capitalism's and the patriarchy's bitterest signifiers of victory, is that something to celebrate? Are we really looking for female villains who kill others and hoard wealth and don't support others, just like men always have?

Perhaps not, but watching these narratives play out often offers catharsis, providing a fulfilling revenge fantasy for anyone who's ever been in an abusive relationship or who's seen others affected by them. We'll see how the movie ends up, but for now, the soundtrack provides an excuse to celebrate rage and revenge without thinking too hard about what it means.

Music Features

Why Do Pop's Most Successful Women Still Live in the Shadows of Their Exes?

Halsey clapped back at a concert-goer who kept yelling the name of her famous ex-boyfriend, but it shouldn't have happened in the first place.

Whether its her evocative lyricism or unfiltered tweets, Halsey is widely known for her openness on her mental health issues and her personal life.

The singer's vulnerability has also resulted in a close public eye on all of her romantic relationships, particularly her on-again, off-again love affair with rapper G-Eazy. Though the details of their rocky relationship remain mostly unconfirmed, Halsey has alluded to the fact that he cheated on her, and some have suspected G-Eazy was abusive towards her based on his troubles with the law. Either way—judging by Halsey's reaction to a concert-goer who kept shouting G-Eazy's name—the split was apparently ugly.

Videos surfaced over the weekend of a recent Halsey performance at which someone in the crowd yelled her ex's name multiple times. "If you say G-Eazy one more f--king time, I will kick your ass out of this party," she yelled. It's unclear if the name-caller ended up being escorted out of the show, but the incident points to an irritating trend in which female pop stars struggle to escape from the shadows of their famed relationships.

When Mac Miller was charged for a DUI following a May 2018 car crash, fans were quick to blame the incident—as well as his fatal overdose that followed a few months later—on Ariana Grande, with whom he'd recently split. Grande stood up for herself in a Twitter statement, and Miller's friend Shane Powers sang praise for her stabilizing presence as Miller tried to get his substance abuse under control. And then, perhaps most prominently, there's Taylor Swift, who even amid attempts to keep her love life under wraps has spent the majority of her career in an unfair narrative centered around whoever she's dating. Halsey, Grande, and Swift are currently among pop's most successful women; why are they still living as extensions of their ex-boyfriends? Is it because the music industry, generally speaking, is still hesitant to acknowledge a woman's success can exist without the support of men?

Halsey was right to call out the person in the crowd who kept yelling G-Eazy's name, and doing so shouldn't be considered unprofessional. It's a knee-jerk reaction to pent-up anger that results from your career being too often associated with exes, in a way those previous male partners will likely never understand.

MUSIC

How Has G-Eazy Dated Megan Thee Stallion, Lana Del Rey, and Halsey?

Twitter is reacting aversely to the news that G-Eazy might be dating Megan Thee Stallion. Though he as a history of dating beloved pop starlets, this one has sparked particularly strong backlash.

Early this morning, the rapper G-Eazy posted an Instagram video of himself with fellow rapper Megan Thee Stallion.

The former, whose real name is Gerald Earl Gillum, appears to be kissing Meg (real name Megan Jovon Ruth Pete) multiple times on the cheek. They were also spotted partying together in Miami, and G-Eazy posted a photo of Megan captioned with a series of blue hearts, sparking relationship rumors.



Twitter isn't happy about it.

Somehow, G-Eazy has dated some of pop music's brightest stars. He dated Lana Del Rey and then Halsey, and he played an instrumental role in inspiring both of their most recent musical endeavors.





He was first linked to Lana Del Rey after the two were spotted dancing to Kendrick Lamar at Coachella in 2017. They dated for at least several months, and the rapper apparently inspired Del Rey's song "White Mustang" from her album Lust for Life. But the relationship met its end, apparently partly because of G-Eazy's excessive cocaine use, and the rapper quickly moved onto Halsey.

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The pair dated for over a year and broke up twice, and since their final separation they've both dropped scathing tracks about each other. Halsey's chart-topping hit "Without Me" was about how she helped G-Eazy reach the top of the charts, and she also mentioned him on her feature on Post Malone's "Die For Me."

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G-Eazy's connections to powerful women are definitely part of the reason why this unremarkable rapper has achieved stardom, which is another reason why fans are feeling protective over Megan Thee Stallion.

This year, thanks to her song "Hot Girl Summer," Meg became a symbol of female independence, strength, and sexual liberation. So, if we're following through with that spirit, the Internet seemingly has no right to tell her off for who she wishes to date.

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Still, it's hard not to wish that she wasn't dating G-Eazy, who seems to be the archetypal white male parasite, perpetually leaching off other cultures and other people to further his own career. The racial dynamics of the relationship have also made up a large part of the arguments, and many users on Black Twitter are angry about Megan dating a white dude; on the other hand, some have argued that race shouldn't matter, saying instead that G-Eazy's personality isn't a good fit for Megan's.

A few rare birds actually support their relationship.


Of course, it's really up to Megan in the end—she's her own independent person and an incredible up-and-coming superstar, and none of this really matters. Still, exactly how G-Eazy has roped in some of music's most talented and seductive women is an eternal mystery. Is it his tired bad-boy aesthetic or something more? Did Lana Del Rey teach him to practice anti-Trump witchcraft and did he use it to create a love potion?

It's a conundrum for the ages, but regardless, G-Eazy has provoked the jealousy and ire of fans across the world. Maybe we'll at least get a few collaborations, some live shade (both Del Rey and Halsey have insulted G-Eazy during their shows), and some empowering diss tracks when it ultimately implodes.

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