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 Synth-pop
Length 48:43
Label Astralwerks
Producer
Halsey chronology
Badlands
(2015)
Hopeless Fountain Kingdom
(2017)
Alternative cover
Urban Outfitters exclusive vinyl cover
Urban Outfitters exclusive vinyl cover
Singles from Hopeless Fountain Kingdom
  1. "Now or Never"
    Released: April 4, 2017
  2. "Bad at Love"
    Released: August 22, 2017
  3. "Alone"
    Released: March 15, 2018

Hopeless Fountain Kingdom is the second studio album by American singer Halsey. It was released on June 2, 2017, by Astralwerks.[1] It peaked at number one on the US Billboard 200.

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.[2][3] Musically, the album is mainly rooted on pop music,[4][5] specifically synth-pop.[6]

Background and musical style[edit]

Hopeless Fountain Kingdom is a concept album that connects with her previous album Badlands,[7] and Halsey has explained various parallels between lyrics on songs from both albums.[8][9][10] Halsey also hinted that something on the album was inspired by the song Empty Gold from her debut EP Room 93.[11] Hopeless Fountain Kingdom's story and characters are mostly inspired by William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, with the opening track "The Prologue" featuring the play's prologue spoken by Halsey. Inspiration for the album has also come from Halsey removing herself from a toxic relationship.[12]

The album is noted for swapping the genders of Romeo and Juliet[13] and including same sex relationships. The main character is a bisexual[14] female named Luna Aureum (Luna meaning "moon"), and her main love interest is male character Solis Angelus (Solis meaning "sun")[15][16], with references to female love interests in the songs "Bad At Love"[17] and "Strangers",[18] featuring Lauren Jauregui who is bisexual herself.[19]

In the behind-the-scenes video for the first single, "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.[citation needed] The music video for "Now or Never" was heavily influenced by Baz Luhrmann's 1996 film adaptation of the play, Romeo + Juliet.[20]

Musically, Halsey stated that she didn't want her first album to be a radio album and that although this album has a more radio-friendly sound she still sees herself as an alternative artist; Halsey also said that she is “more than capable of writing radio music". For this album, Halsey worked with several producers, including Greg Kurstin, Benny Blanco and Ricky Reed.[21]

Promotion[edit]

Halsey referenced the album as early as 2014, posting "(and the Kingdom)" on Twitter,[22] and in 2016 when playing in Madison Square Garden she displayed the words "you can find me in the Kingdom" on a screen.[3] In February, she invited 100 fans in London to a church to hear four new songs from the album.[23]

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.[3] 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.[24]

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.[25][26][27][28]

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.

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 US Billboard Hot 100. It became her first single as a lead artist to reach the top 40 and her first since "Closer", peaking at No. 17.

"Bad at Love" was announced by Halsey on her Twitter account as the next single off the album. It has peaked at No. 5 in the US, making it her highest peaking solo song in the country.[29]

A remixed version of "Alone" was announced by Halsey on her Twitter as the album's third single, featuring rappers Big Sean and Stefflon Don.[30] The songs has since peaked at number 66 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Promotional singles[edit]

On May 4, 2017, "Eyes Closed" was released as the first promotional single.[31]

On May 26, Halsey confirmed "Strangers", featuring Fifth Harmony member Lauren Jauregui, as the second official 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.

Other songs[edit]

On February 2, 2018, Halsey released the music video for somber piano track "Sorry" as "something to hold u [sic] over".[32] The video has racked up over 22 million views to date.[33]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?6.7/10[34]
Metacritic66/100[35]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[36]
Consequence of SoundB[37]
NME4/5 stars[38]
The Observer3/5 stars[39]
Pitchfork6.5/10[40]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[6]
PopMatters4/10 stars[41]

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized 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.[35]

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."[6] 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."[39]

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."[42] 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."[43]

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.[44] This feat made Halsey the first female act in 2017 to open atop the chart. In Australia, the album debuted at number two with first-week sales of 4,300 copies.[45] The album debuted at number 12 on the UK Albums Chart, selling 7,123 copies in its first week.[46]

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.[47]

Standard edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."The Prologue"Lido1:47
2."100 Letters"
Ricky Reed3:29
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
Lido1:07
8."Lie" (featuring Quavo)
Lido2:29
9."Walls Could Talk"
  • Frangipane
  • Losnegård
Lido1:41
10."Bad at Love"
  • Ricky Reed
  • Chahayed[b]
3:01
11."Strangers" (featuring Lauren Jauregui)
  • Frangipane
  • Kurstin
Kurstin3:41
12."Devil in Me"
Kurstin4:09
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.[48]

Performers and musicians

  • Halsey – vocals
  • Quavo – vocals (track 9)
  • Lauren Jauregui – vocals (track 13)
  • Cashmere Cat – featured artist (track 16), instruments (tracks 3, 5, 16), keyboards (tracks 3, 5, 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, 5, 16), programming (tracks 3, 5, 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

World tour[edit]

The Hopeless Fountain Kingdom World Tour is the second headlining concert tour by American singer-songwriter Halsey, it in support of her second studio album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom (2017). The tour began on September 29, 2017, in Uncasville, Connecticut, at the Mohegan Sun Arena,[49] and is scheduled to conclude on September 26, 2018, in Berlin, Germany, at Columbiahalle. In 2017, the tour grossed $9.2 million from 28 shows with 340,983 tickets sold across North America.[50]

Halsey announced "Installment I" of the tour, the North American leg, on May 5, 2017, about a month before the release of Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. Along with this announcement Halsey commented "this is the biggest tour I've ever done. and I'm gonna bring u the biggest show to go with it", and revealed that Canadian rapper PartyNextDoor and British singer Charli XCX would serve as opening acts. Tickets for the North American leg of the tour went on sale to the general public on May 12, 2017.[51] Various VIP ticket options called "Angelus", "Aurem", "Solis" and "Luna" were also made available.[52] On December 13, 2017 Halsey announced five shows in Oceania as "Installment II" of the tour, these shows are scheduled to take place in April 2018, and was going to be supported by Kehlani.[51][53][54] More shows were added as "The Final Installment" with shows in North America, Asia and Europe.

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[82][83] Gold 20,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[84] Gold 40,000^
United States (RIAA)[85] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

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