Halsey and Melanie: the new faces of alternative pop

Kristina Wyman's picture
David Cifarelli

The alternative music scene has given birth to two new budding songstresses within the past few years. The careers of Halsey and Melanie Martinez have grown extensively due to their unique images, honest music and intriguing personalities. Both of these artists have the potential to reach alternative music stardom similar to those of Lana Del Rey, Florence and the Machine and Marina and the Diamonds.
Melanie has established her career around her childhood persona. Her debut album Crybaby is a concept album based on a part of her. Melanie has described Crybaby as the imperfect and insecure version of her that has grown more confident as her music career has progressed. Melanie’s alternatives style utilizes childhood toys and sounds mixed with hip-hop inflections. Her appearance with many multi-colored wigs and heavy make-up help Melanie play the role of Crybaby as long as the album’s era is alive.
Halsey released her debut album entitled Badlands in 2015, and it continues to draw music fans in with its intriguing image and sound. Halsey based the album on what she describes as a “Dystopian Las Vegas.” The so-called “Badlands” are a tempting place for individuals to go and experiment with bad behavior. The album delves deep into Halsey’s mind where most of these behaviors exist. The album’s sound is influenced heavily by rock alternative and incorporates new-age alternative dreaminess that ties the concept of Badlands all together. Halsey’s constantly changing image is her way of keeping up with the album’s message. She stylizes a different behavior with every new haircut and wardrobe.
Now let’s take a deeper look at the messages behind each singer’s albums.
Melanie’s debut single “Dollhouse” is a real account of the so-called “perfect family.” This family puts on doll faces, as Melanie calls it, as a façade that covers their real behavior. The mom is an alcoholic, the dad is having an affair and the son smokes marijuana. Not quite the perfect family, is it? That is because Melanie strives to uncover the truth behind life’s falsified images.
Halsey dives deep into the mind and highlights her struggle with bipolar disorder helps elevate her songwriting to a new level. Her song “Control” captures the intensity of dealing with her mental illness. The song runs the course of the spectrum of emotions including anger, frustration, guilt sadness and fear. It leaves her and the listener wondering who is in control when your mind seems to be working against you.
With both releases of their music happening around the same time in 2015, Melanie and Halsey have achieved enormous success as first-time artists. To this day, both Crybaby and Badlands are still within the top albums chart on iTunes, an impressive feat for two equally impressive songstresses. The two continue to be publicized in the media and have even branched outside the alternative music realm. We can’t overlook Halsey’s collaboration with the Chainsmokers on their massive hit “Closer.” It is only a matter of time before Melanie and Halsey reach worldwide success.
I suggest that you take into account both Melanie and Halsey’s work. Listen to both their albums. Get a feel for their personalities. Understand their aims as creative alternative music artists. Both ladies are innovative individuals who are taking the music industry by storm.
Then decide, which do you like better? Does Melanie’s creativity win you over Halsey’s deepness? Are you going to the “Badlands” or following Crybaby’s story? You may end up liking both artists equally. Either way, the alternative music scene has had a new fire ignited within it that will draw more and more music fans towards its light.

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