Is Tik-Tok Ruining Pop Music?

by Shelt Garner

It definitely seems as though Tik-Tok’s ability to make or break a pop song is beginning to warp pop music, just like MTV did back in the day. I say this because of the song “Stay With Me” by Halsey and a few others.

If you just hear the Halsey’s hook for the song, you think you’re getting a really good song on her part. But then the actual song is a rather lazy, mediocre dance pop song. It’s so bad that you feel kind of suckered.

Of course, the reason why this happened is the record company knew that the good Halsey part of the song is probably the only thing most Zoomers on Tik-Tok would ever hear of the song in the first place. So they decided to concentrate on only having the hook with Halsey be any good.

This sucks. I hate this. I want entire songs to be good, not just snippets of it them that are meant to be used as background music on Tik-Toks. Oh well.

A Hot Take On Halsey

by Shelt Garner

I really, really like Halsey. But the thing about her is, she seems to be among a number of established artists who seem to be thrashing around creatively for a New Sound.

The logical thing for her to do is to veer into traditional pop rock. It’s right there. If she came out out with a pop rock album that wasn’t just warmed over NIN in its vibe, then I think she would find a lot of success.

It definitely seems as though the audience wants something akin to neo-New Wave. That’s what Zoomers want. They have no idea what New Wave and punk are and if you came out with music that was updated New Wave I think it would be a huge hit.

But, lulz. No one one listens to me. But I’m an Old, so I have some perspective on things. And I think if you someone like Halsey really studied The Talking Heads or Blondie and got a really good producer (Butch Vig?) to rock her up some, I think that’s a sure fire hit.

We Have To Talk About How ‘Stay With Me’ Could Have Been A Much, Much Better Song

by Shelt Garner

So, the new vibe shift-ish dance song “Stay With Me” opens really great. Halsey sings a chorus that is interesting and is a great hook…and then the song gets really traditional and dull really quick.

It’s all very frustrating.

Instead of teasing us with what could have been a really, really great pop rock song song entirely by Halsey with the vibe that the song starts off with, why not release a new remix of the song which is sung exclusively by Halsey?

Alas, everything sucks and I can’t get what I want.

We Stan A Queen — We Have Got To Talk About Halsey’s Very Exposed, Very Dark Areola On The Cover Of Her New Album

by Shelt Garner

By Apple Music, Fair use.

I find myself becoming a Halsey fan because of what I’m hearing on her latest album. It’s not perfect — it seems all over the place thematically with the only the holding it together is Trent Reznor wants to remind us that he was in NIN. Ok, we get it Trent.

The first time I saw the album’s cover on Spotify, I did a double take — was it possible I was seeing what I was seeing? A reproduction of a very famous piece of art that involves a baby and a very exposed, very dark areola? I’m very pleased with this image because it’s interesting and it doesn’t treat us like children.

If nothing else, it will get her stans to look into some art history to find out why they’re seeing something so mildly provocative. Motherhood has only made Halsey more attractive. She’s a real babe in her more buxomly itineration.

But the album itself is really, really good. I just wish Reznor was a bit more adept in its production. The whole thing is a mess. It derivative production on individual songs occasionally takes away from how great the album is as a whole. A few of the songs are real bangers (bops?). Being new to Halsey the singer as opposed to a celebrity I barely know anything about, I continue to be taken aback by how beautiful and unique her singing voice is.

Not to sound TOO much like a dirty old man, but I continue to struggle with why someone like Dua Lipa has not “accidently on purpose” given us some T&A. She’s a real stunner and it’s weird that 30 years after Madonna ran around naked we’ve grown more puritanical. Maybe she’ll do it in the Hollywood movie she’s set to star in soon.

Trent Reznor, You Are So Derivative — Why Did You Have To Rip Off Tori Amos On Halsey’s New Album?

by Shelt Garner

In this instance, I don’t really anything untoward happened, but Trent Reznor was definitely thinking of straining a Tori Amos song through his NIN sensibilities.

Listen to this song by Halsey:

Then listen to this Tori Amos classic:

The only reason why this is even an issue for me for is when I hear the Halsey song, my mind finishes the song with the lyrics from Cornflake Girl and it causes some cognative dissidence.

Otherwise, lulz. I think it’s just a wink and a nod to Amos’ brillance.

But you would think that Reznor — who is no slouch himself — could be a little bit more creative.

I Know What You Did On Halsey’s Song ‘You Asked For This,’ Trent Reznor

by Shelt Garner

Ok, I really — really — like Halsey’s new album. But there are a few points in the album where I sit up and take notice at how…derivative some of the songs are in their production. The entire album has the usual NIN vibe to it thanks to producer Trent Reznor. That’s a gimmie. But there a few other tracks that make you go what the what?

Listen this all the way through.

I want you listen to the whole thing, then listen to these two songs. First, listen to this classic by Blur.

And then listen to this song by Garbage.

The Blur song is provides the very beginning of the Halsey song. But it’s the latter song that is ripped off the most. The two songs have a very similar macro beat structure. The only reason why I even mention it is to my ear, the echo of the Garbage song in the Halsey song is so potent that it kind of drives me crazy until I can get some closure.

Anyway. I gotcha, Trent! (To be fair, I listened again and it’s not THAT obvious. But the two songs definitely seem similar if you know them both.)

Let’s Talk Halsey (& NIN)

by Shelt Garner

Thanks to Spotify, I’ve found myself obsessively listening to Halsey the last few days. I’m surprised how good she is as a singer and song-writer. Her latest album, “If I Can’t I Have Love, I Want Power” suits my middle-aged white male musical sensibilities quite well.

LOS ANGELES – MARCH 14: Halsey attends the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards on March 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Glenn Francis/Pacific Pro Digital Photography)

I do have one quibble, though — a number of the songs sound….vaguely derivative? But the only reason why they do so is my age. If you were the intended audience of a young tweener girl, you would never catch one song’s reference to NIN. There’s so much NIN drifting through this album that I wonder if Trent Reznor is her producer. (I checked: HE IS. Which explains why I keep hearing NIN musical cues throughout the album.)

I will note there’s a little bit of Tori Amos dripped into this album, too.

Anyway. If you were too young to know The Downward Spiral, you would never catch how Reznor is plagiarizing himself. His influence is so noticeable in the album that it’s at times rather distracting. But Reznor is a great producer and the overall product is exceptional, given how shitty most modern music is. I applaud Halsey for picking Reznor and Atticus Ross to produce what is otherwise a pretty mainstream pop rock album.

Anyway. I really like this album. The thing about Halsey is she has an extremely unique vocal sound. Her voice really sticks out for how unique it is. It’s like that one hot chick in college you knew who had stunning eyes — Halsey’s unique voice is her greatest strength because of its distinct personality.

It does seem as though we may be slowly, in fits and starts, drifting towards what I call “Rona Rock.” This would be the traditional pop rock that dominated the charts for about 50 years. It died out about 20o8-ish. It would be cool if it came back. It would make me so happy.

One way for that to happen would be for some sort of girl supergroup to be formed with one of its members being Halsey.

Someone Needs To Stage A Rock ‘N Roll Intervention With Halsey

by Shelton Bumgarner

I’m slowly growing into a fan of Halsey, but I feel something is lacking. She’s a pretty mainstream pop star right now and it seems to me she has an opportunity to do something really interesting if she covered a Garbage song.

The obvious song for her to cover is their big hit “Stupid Girl.” But they have a wide-range of solid pop rock songs for her to choose from, ranging from the rock banger “I’m Only Happy When It Rains” to the slow, dark songs like “Cup of Coffee” and “Drive You Home.”

But I’m a middle-aged white man and, as such, my musical tastes don’t mean shit.

I have to note she’s a stunning woman and I like how she has a very unique vocal inflection in the manner in which she sings. Still wish she’d go the rock route with at least one song, though.