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Halsey’s 10 Best Songs

Revisiting some of the songs that have defined Halsey's career so far

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halsey best songs
Illustration by Steven Fiche

    There aren’t many self-release success stories quite like that of Halsey. When her original song “Ghost” was released to SoundCloud back in 2014, it instantly began to gain attention. With her very first release, Halsey was already on the map.

    In the years since, Halsey has become a reliable source of honest lyricism, innovative and creative concept albums, music video and film direction, and a deeply personal form of artistry. Over four full albums — from Badlands to If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power — Halsey has played with genre and self-mythology, constructing and deconstructing narratives as they see fit. It’s hard to narrow down their discography, so diverse in genre, to just ten songs, but we set out to give it a try.

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    Check out our list of ten favorite Halsey tracks below, and scroll to the end for a playlist.

    — Mary Siroky


    10. “Closer (with The Chainsmokers)”

    The Chainsmokers and Halsey’s “Closer” was the final boss of 2016, a consuming hit that hasn’t lost its charm or relevance six years later. Sure, the song was everywhere, but it has a duet push and pull between Halsey and The Chainsmokers’ Andrew Taggart that ends up giving a standard EDM song a lot more depth. The indelible melodies of “Closer” are hall-of-fame worthy (when it comes to EDM-pop, at least), and it certainly helped cement Halsey as a singular pop talent. If you listen closely, you can still hear the faint cries of a friend group screaming “WE AIN’T NEVER GETTING OLDER.” Amen! — Paolo Ragusa

    09. “Now or Never”

    Halsey’s fantastic sophomore album, hopeless fountain kingdom, arrived with lead single “Now or Never.” So much of the album is tinged in the dark R&B beats that characterize “Now or Never,” which made it the perfect introduction to this chapter of her story. The accompanying music video for the track also marked her directorial debut and introduced fans to the world-building she leaned into fully in this era. The story of Romeo and Juliet never felt quite so modern and sultry. — M. Siroky

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    08. “Colors”

    There are so many songs out there in the world about unrequited love, but no lyrics were more ubiquitous on Tumblr in the summer of 2015 than the bridge to “Colors.” “You were red, and you liked me because I was blue/ But you touched me, and suddenly I was a lilac sky/Then you decided purple just wasn’t for you” — icon behavior.

    “Colors” was certified Double Platinum by the RIAA, and it’s noted as one of the songs that introduced Halsey to the core audience that has remained loyal in the years that have passed since. The Badlands era is legendary for a reason; plenty of people have tried to captures Halsey’s quirks, but they were laying the groundwork on their own back in 2015. — M. Siroky

    07. “Bad at Love”

    Here, Halsey lays out a list of lovers and arrives at the conclusion that they’re the one who is bad at love. Another cut off hopeless fountain kingdom, the album’s fourth single was notable for the fact that it reached a peak of No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it her first song as a solo artist to reach the top 10 on the chart. The growling chorus and Halsey’s trademark brutal honesty made for a perfect pairing here, and “Bad at Love” has remained a powerfully resonant track. — M. Siroky

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    06. “You should be sad”

    Let’s talk about Halsey’s yee-haw era, shall we? 2020’s Manic was sonically expansive and lyrically intimate, and it’s an album that arrived at a transitional time in Halsey’s life. The cowboy-inspired visual was said to have been inspired by Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats,” but instead taking place in the aftermath of a dramatic affair. One of Halsey’s greatest strengths is their ability to take their individual experiences and make them relatable — coming out of an abusive relationship, Halsey gave us all an anthem in the form of this song. — M. Siroky

    05. “Ghost”

    “What happened to the soul that you used to be?” It’s the question that lingers as Halsey’s “Ghost” fades to an end after just two and a half minutes, which might be a bit quick by pop song standards but was plenty of time for Halsey to make the impression they needed to. She refers to this song as the first she ever wrote and recorded, which is certainly a powerful way to introduce yourself to the music world. The single from their debut EP was included on Badlands, and it’s stood the test of time as a capsule of all there is to love about their music. — M. Siroky

    04. “929”

    “I remember this girl with pink hair in Detroit/ She told me, Ashley, you gotta promise us promise us that you won’t die/ ‘Cause we need you, and honestly, I think that she lied.” “929,” also off Manic, is a wonderfully unique track tucked into Halsey’s discography that feels like an essential listen for anyone new to their world. It unfolds almost like a poem, relatively free of structure, but a closer listen reveals how this song could be a precursor to Halsey’s more pop-punk inspired era. Either way, as it stands, it’s a painfully intimate listen. — M. Siroky

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    03. “I am not a woman, I’m a god”

    Halsey’s excellent 2021 album If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power took her in a whole new direction. The album, whose producers included Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, peeled back indie-pop in favor of pop-punk and touches of rock. Hinging on the axis between self-doubt and self-worship, “I am not a woman, I’m a god” takes the concept of dichotomy and wraps it in a heavy, techno beat and gravely vocals. It’s an essential listen from Halsey’s most recent work. — M. Siroky

    02. “Graveyard”

    The second single off Manic was revealed in true Halsey fashion — they shared a livestream painting the cover art for the album, which took place in conjunction with the release of the song. It’s a catchy song that balances the darker themes about following someone, even if it means your own demise, with a sharp electropop beat. Hype continued to build for Manic when Halsey revealed a music video for the track featuring none other than rising star Sydney Sweeney. Here, over three years later, it stands as some of her best work. — M. Siroky

    01. “Without Me”

    “If they laugh, then fuck ’em all.” The intro to the world of doomed lovers, Halsey’s own Romeo and Juliet, arrived as hopeless fountain kingdom shortly after this single. In an interview with Zane Lowe, Halsey described the track, saying, “It’s the most raw thing I’ve ever made.” Halsey’s fraught relationship with G-Eazy yielded some incredible art, this track included; now, with years of healing between Halsey and the song, it’s clear why it resonated with so many listeners. On Twitter, she shared they she cried while recording it, but now feels “proud and empowered” more than anything. If anyone is looking into why so many people connect with Halsey’s music, look no further than “Without Me.” — M. Siroky

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    Halsey’s 10 Best Songs Playlist:

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