🎵 If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power (Halsey)

Listened If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power is the fourth studio album by American singer-songwriter Halsey, released on August 27, 2021, by Capitol Records. It was written by Halsey, Johnathan Cunningham, Greg Kurstin, and its producers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Halsey described the project as “a concept album about the joys and horrors of pregnancy and childbirth”.

The cover artwork of If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power was inspired by artistic depictions of Mary, mother of Jesus. A theatrical film directed by American filmmaker Colin Tilley, titled after the album and featuring its music, screened in select IMAX cinemas around the world on August 25 and 26, 2021, leading up to the album release. If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power is an alternative rock, grunge-pop, and pop punk effort with heavy industrial influence, driven by clattering drums, fuzzy guitars and cinematic textures. Its lyrics center on femininist themes, such as addressing patriarchy and institutional misogyny.

Where Olivia Rodriguez touches on a heavier palette with some of her tracks, while some of Finneas’ and Billie Eilish’s writing and production has been compared with Nine Inch Nails, Halsey takes it a step further by turning to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to produce If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power. This sound provides a foundation for Halsey’s concept album exploring the joys and horrors of pregnancy and childbirth.

I cannot help but think about the current world that these songs have been created in and wonder if it somehow provides the permission to explore new beginnings. Whether it be Lorde’s turn to the sun, Taylor Swift’s exploration of a more delicate sound or Tame Impala’s embracing synth-pop. The wonder if this album would have occurred? As with Chris Deville, I wonder if this is the start of something larger for Reznor and Ross?

It’s emblematic of a collaboration that should please Halsey fans and Nine Inch Nails fans alike, one that has me eager to see the NIN braintrust take on more projects like this. (I say this as someone who likes Jack Antonoff just fine: Imagine if Trent Reznor became the new Jack Antonoff.)

Maybe one for Abel Tesfaye?

given that fellow ’80s devotee the Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” just became the most successful Hot 100 single of all time, maybe Antonoff doesn’t have to wait for a cultural sea change. Forget Billie Eilish and Phoebe Bridgers — put this man in the studio with Abel Tesfaye and let the neon nostalgia flow.


The record itself has a tight, internal focus: It’s about walking the line between self-preservation and self-destruction, control and compulsion, the thrill and terror of getting what you want. Instead of sieving these themes through an elaborate architecture, Halsey lets horror—of the body, of the mind, of mortality—radiate outward. The result is alluring and spectral.

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