Hopeless Fountain Kingdom

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Hopeless Fountain Kingdom
Halsey - Hopeless Fountain Kingdom.png
Studio album by Halsey
Released June 2, 2017 (2017-06-02)
Recorded 2016–17
Genre
Length 48:43
Label Astralwerks
Producer
Halsey chronology
Badlands
(2015)
Hopeless Fountain Kingdom
(2017)
Singles from Hopeless Fountain Kingdom
  1. "Now or Never"
    Released: April 4, 2017 (2017-04-04)
  2. "Bad at Love"
    Released: August 22, 2017 (2017-08-22)

Hopeless Fountain Kingdom (stylized as hopeless fountain kingdom) is the second studio album by American singer Halsey. It was released on June 2, 2017, by Astralwerks.[4]

Title and music[edit]

Billboard has pointed out that the album title might be named after a real fountain built by Halsey's ex-boyfriend off the L train's Halsey Street stop in Brooklyn.[5][6] Musically, the album is mainly rooted as pop[1][2] and synth-pop.[3]

Background and composition[edit]

According to Halsey in an interview with Rolling Stone in March 2017, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom is a concept album, like her previous album Badlands. The story centers on a faux hipster in a limbo-like realm that connects to the futuristic setting of the previous album: "I was a big comic-book kid... a big Marvel nerd", she stated.[7] Halsey has stated her debut album wasn't supposed to be "a radio album," but expects Hopeless Fountain Kingdom to generate some airplay, "I am more than capable of writing radio music... and hopefully I'll put my money where my mouth is on this album." However, she still sees herself as "an alternative artist."[7] For the album, Halsey worked with several producers, including Greg Kurstin, Benny Blanco and Ricky Reed.[7]

The album is inspired by William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, the introduction of the opening track "The Prologue" features the play's prologue spoken by the singer. The music video for "Now or Never" was heavily influenced by Baz Luhrmann's 1996 film adaptation of Romeo + Juliet, the video was filled with neon lights and Lurhman's signature visual aesthetic. The story follows a gender-swapped version of the "star-crossed lovers" as viewed by Halsey.[8]

The album is set in a futuristic land (possibly known as the Hopeless Fountain Kingdom), and revolves around two families: Angelus and Aureum, the Angelus family rules over the kingdom, while the Aureum family lives among the common people. When heir to the throne Solis Angelus falls in love with Luna Aureum, chaos ensues, the album is expected to follow this conflict.

In the Behind the Scenes video for "Now or Never", Halsey revealed that the Hopeless Fountain Kingdom is a sort of purgatory for people who are too bad for heaven, but too good for hell. Luna and Solis are rumored to be the only two people born inside the Kingdom.

Promotion[edit]

Halsey referenced the album as early as 2014, posting "(and the Kingdom)" on Twitter,[9] and in 2016 when playing in Madison Square Garden she displayed the words "you can find me in the Kingdom" on a screen.[6] In February, she invited 100 fans in London to a church to hear four new songs from the album.[10]

In March, multiple Twitter accounts connected to Halsey began hinting at a storyline present in the album, seemingly involving two characters named Luna and Solis belonging to two different houses called the House of Aureum and the House of Angelus. Soon after the tweets were released, Halsey began mailing out quotes from Romeo and Juliet to fans;[6] in the first song on the album titled "The Prologue," Halsey recites the beginning lines of the play. The story of Luna and Solis in Hopeless Fountain Kingdom takes significant influence from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, in particular the Baz Luhrmann directed adaptation Romeo + Juliet. Halsey and Luhrmann would later be interviewed by Beats 1's Zane Lowe about their respective adaptation processes.[11]

The album was announced on March 7, 2017 via Halsey's Twitter account, along with a photograph of her holding a rose, and on March 23, announced the release date of June 2, 2017.[12][13][14][15]

To release the album cover, she had a global scavenger hunt, where miniature gun shaped USB's were hidden in 9 cities around the world with pieces of the cover. When all the pieces were found, they revealed the album cover art along with the announcement of the first single, "Now or Never".[citation needed]

On May 16, 2017, Halsey hinted via her Twitter account that the album would be accompanied by a series of connected music videos.

Tour[edit]

On May 3, 2017, Halsey announced an official headlining concert tour to further promote the album titled the Hopeless Fountain Kingdom World Tour. The tour began on September 29, 2017, in Uncasville, Connecticut, at the Mohegan Sun Arena.[16]

Singles[edit]

The album's lead single, "Now or Never", was released on April 4, 2017 along with its pre-order, the same day, the song's music video, co-directed by Halsey with Sing J Lee, was premiered. The single debuted at No. 50 on the Billboard Hot 100. It became her first single as a lead artist to reach the top 40 and her first since "Closer", it has peaked at No. 17. "Bad at Love" has been announced by Halsey on her Twitter account as the next single of the album. It has peaked at No. 20 so far.[17]

Promotional singles[edit]

On May 4, 2017, "Eyes Closed" was released as the first promotional single,[18] on May 26, "Strangers", featuring Fifth Harmony member Lauren Jauregui, was released as the second promotional single. It debuted at No. 100 on the Billboard Hot 100. It became Halsey's sixth entry and Jauregui's first as a solo artist.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
AnyDecentMusic? 6.7/10[19]
Metacritic 66/100[20]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[21]
Consequence of Sound B[22]
NME 4/5 stars[23]
The Observer 3/5 stars[24]
Pitchfork 6.5/10[25]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[3]
PopMatters 4/10 stars[26]

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has an average score of 66 out of 100, which indicates "generally favorable reviews" based on 10 reviews.[20]

Rob Sheffield from Rolling Stone stated Halsey "shows off all her wild musical ambitions" on her "bold" second album. "It's her sprawling science-fiction breakup tale, indulging her taste for wide-screen melodrama." Musically, he opined the singer is "going for adult dystopian synth-pop realness."[3] For The Observer, Kitty Empire noted Halsey's "generic guest spot on a massive 2016 hit by The Chainsmokers, 'Closer', was an omen" as the album "does succumb to post-hit syndrome. It is not remotely bad; it certainly sounds just like one of the most hotly awaited pop albums of 2017. But you can discern, just off stage, the chorus of unignorable industry types bearing down on one bankable creative, advising this timely collaboration, that hot producer, this set of references."[24]

Jon Caramanica in The New York Times opined it "liberally borrows styles from other singers." He highlighted "where Halsey sets herself apart is in her subject matter and manner of delivery. Her tales have rough edges and ellipsis endings," however, "there isn't a flicker of musical edge on this album, only a belief in the crowdsourcing of ideas."[27] USA Today's Maeve McDermott expressed similar sentiments in a mixed review, noting that the album "borrows magpie-like from other stars' signature sounds, with some working better than others."[28]

Rolling Stone staff considered it one of the best albums of the first half of 2017.[29]

Commercial performance[edit]

Hopeless Fountain Kingdom debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with 106,000 album-equivalent units, of which 76,000 were pure album sales, making Halsey the first female artist in 2017 to do so.[30] In Australia, the album debuted at number two with first-week sales of 4,300 copies,[31] the album debuted at number 12 on the UK Albums Chart, selling 7,123 copies in its first week.[32]

Track listing[edit]

The standard edition includes 13 songs while the deluxe edition includes 16 songs, reordered to fit an ordered story-like telling; in the United States, physical copies of the deluxe edition are only available at Target stores for a limited time. Credits taken from iTunes liner notes.[33]

Standard edition
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "The Prologue" Lido 1:47
2. "100 Letters"
Ricky Reed 3:29
3. "Eyes Closed" 3:22
4. "Alone"
  • Ricky Reed
  • Carter[a]
3:25
5. "Now or Never"
  • Benny Blanco
  • Cashmere Cat
  • Happy Perez
3:34
6. "Sorry"
  • Kurstin
3:40
7. "Good Mourning"
  • Frangipane
  • Losnegård
Lido 1:07
8. "Lie" (featuring Quavo)
Lido 2:29
9. "Walls Could Talk"
  • Frangipane
  • Losnegård
Lido 1:41
10. "Bad at Love"
  • Ricky Reed
  • Chahayed[b]
3:01
11. "Strangers" (featuring Lauren Jauregui)
  • Frangipane
  • Kurstin
Kurstin 3:41
12. "Devil in Me"
Kurstin 4:09
13. "Hopeless" (featuring Cashmere Cat)
  • Benny Blanco
  • Cashmere Cat
3:07
Total length: 38:32

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer
  • ^[b] signifies an additional producer

Sample credits

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the deluxe edition of Hopeless Fountain Kingdom.[34]

Performers and musicians

  • Halsey – vocals
  • Quavo – vocals (track 9)
  • Lauren Jauregui – vocals (track 13)
  • Cashmere Cat – featured artist (track 16), instruments (tracks 3, 6, 16), keyboards (tracks 3, 6, 16)
  • Kiara Ana – viola (tracks 1, 8–10)
  • Benny Blanco – instruments (tracks 3, 6, 16), keyboards (tracks 3, 6, 16)
  • Rogét Chahayed – instruments (track 11)
  • Dante Frangipane – spoken word (track 8)
  • Ezra Kurstin – voices (track 13)
  • Greg Kurstin – drums (tracks 4, 13–15), guitar (tracks 4, 7, 13–14), keyboards (tracks 4, 13–15), mellotron (track 7), piano (tracks 7, 15), chamberlin (track 7), rhodes (track 15)
  • Lido – instruments (tracks 1, 8–10, 12), keyboards (tracks 1, 8–10, 12)
  • Alexandra McKoy – spoken word (track 8)
  • Happy Perez – instruments (tracks 3, 6), guitar (tracks 3, 6)
  • Ricky Reed – instruments (tracks 2, 5, 11)
  • Starrah – background vocals (track 6)
  • Chyrsanthe Tan – violin (tracks 1, 8–10)
  • Adrienne Woods – cello (tracks 1, 8–10)

Production

  • Benny Blanco – production (tracks 3, 6, 16), programming (tracks 3, 6, 16)
  • Julian Burg – recording (tracks 4, 7, 13–15)
  • Josh Carter – co-production (track 5), programming (track 5)
  • Cashmere Cat – production (tracks 3, 6, 16), programming (tracks 3, 6, 16)
  • Rogét Chahayed – additional production (track 11)
  • Chris Gehringer – mastering
  • Serban Ghenea – mixing
  • Mac Attkinson – recording engineer (tracks 3, 4, 6, 10)
  • Amadxus – assistant recording engineer (tracks 3, 15)
  • ATM the engineer – assistant recording engineer (track 10)
  • John Hanes – engineered for mix
  • Seif Hussain – production coordination (tracks 3, 6, 16)
  • Greg Kurstin – production (tracks 4, 7, 13–15), recording (tracks 4, 7, 13–15), drum programming (tracks 4, 13–15)
  • Lido – production (tracks 1, 8–10, 12), recording (tracks 1, 8–10, 12), programming (tracks 1, 8–10, 12)
  • Andrew Luftman – production coordination (tracks 3, 6, 16)
  • Alex Pasco – recording (tracks 4, 7, 13–15)
  • Happy Perez – production (tracks 3, 6), programming (tracks 3, 6)
  • Ricky Reed – production (tracks 2, 5, 11), programming (tracks 2, 5, 11)
  • Dave Schwerkolt – recording (tracks 3, 6, 16)
  • Ben Sedano – recording (tracks 1, 8–10, 12)
  • Sarah Shelton – production coordination (tracks 3, 6, 16)
  • Ethan Shumaker – recording (tracks 2, 5, 11)

Design and management

  • Jason Aron – management
  • Martha Braithwaithe – business affairs
  • Ryan Del Vecchio – A&R administration
  • David Helfer – business affairs
  • Garrett Hilliker – art direction
  • Anthony Li – management
  • Jeremy Vuernick – A&R
  • Brian Ziff – photography

Charts[edit]

Chart (2017) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[35] 2
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[36] 20
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[37] 14
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[38] 64
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[39] 1
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[40] 20
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[41] 24
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[42] 15
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[43] 17
French Albums (SNEP)[44] 83
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[45] 27
Greek Albums (IFPI)[46] 26
Irish Albums (IRMA)[47] 7
Italian Albums (FIMI)[48] 15
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[49] 6
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[50] 11
Polish Albums (ZPAV)[51] 22
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[52] 16
Scottish Albums (OCC)[53] 13
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[54] 13
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[55] 27
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[56] 24
UK Albums (OCC)[57] 12
US Billboard 200[58] 1

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[59] Gold 500,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b "Latest Album Reviews: Halsey, Charlie Fink, Kirin J Callinan, Bleachers, Jim Lawrie". News.com.au. June 8, 2017. Retrieved July 4, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d Sheffield, Rob (June 1, 2017). "Review: Halsey Showcases Wild Ambitions on 'Hopeless Fountain Kingdom'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 1, 2017. 
  4. ^ Apaza, Kevin (March 23, 2017). "Halsey Reveals New Album Release Date With TAROT Cards!". DirectLyrics. Retrieved March 23, 2017. 
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