Halsey’s new album If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power is out now. The pop star worked on it with Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, and in our Premature Evaluation review we wrote that it’s “a collaboration that should please Halsey fans and Nine Inch Nails fans alike.”
Halsey sat down for an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe to talk about the album in-depth for the first time and the experience of working with Reznor and Ross. “We half made it on a tour bus driving across the country at the beginning of the pandemic, and then we half made it in my backyard, just at my house,” ,” Halsey said. “And I wanted really cinematic sort of, not horror specifically, but kind of just really unsettling production. It’s something I wanted, and Anthony, my manager, knew that it’s something I wanted and I had abandoned it, because I was like, I’m not cool enough. They’ll never do it. I’m not interesting enough. Like, I’m not even going to ask.”
Halsey went on:
Trent said something to me that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life, where he was like, “Hey, the record is great how it is.” He was like, “So you could not do this with us and put it out.” He’s like, “Or, the way a lot of modern music is right now is it informs the listener not to pay attention. It says, this song is safe. You can put it on a playlist. You can listen to it in a car. You can play it on a party, and it’s not going to fuck up the vibe. It blends in with everything else. It’s a mood. It’s chill. But it informs you not to pay attention.” He was like, “Your songs, I think, deserve better than that, and I think that they should make people pay attention to what you’re saying.” He said, “So I’m going to make some really weird choices.” And I was like, please make weird choices. Make the weirdest choices.
So he sent back two songs at first, him and Atticus, and they told me later on, they were like, “There’s no way she’s going–” And Trent and Atticus told me later, they were like, “As soon as you were like, these are amazing,” they were like, “All right, it’s go time. She wants to play.” You know what I mean? Like, she wants to play. And I understand it, you know? They wanted to know if I was willing to take the risk, and I was. I was willing to take the risk, and I also felt like I had earned it, at that point, to be able to, where it’s like, I feel like every artist on their fourth, fifth, whatever album, especially pop artists, are always like, “I really want to do something experimental. I really want to do something experimental.”
Stream If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power below.