Halsey has returned with the first taste of her sophomore album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. The R&B slow jam “Now or Never” was produced by Benny Blanco, Cashmere Cat and Happy Perez and comes with a violent, Mexico City-shot video co-directed by Halsey and Sing J Lee.
Moving away from the industrial-leaning alternative pop of her 2015 debut album Badlands, Halsey embraces a more sensual sound reminiscent of Justin Bieber’s Journals and the trap-soul of Bryson Tiller. The video deals with the same concept of star-crossed lovers that will permeate her forthcoming album, with a blue-haired Halsey trying to be with the man she loves despite being kept apart from him. Following a foreboding tarot card reading, a shootout occurs. Both Halsey and the man she loves miraculously survive, with the clip ending with the singer chopping off her hair.
“Now or Never” is Halsey’s directorial debut. “[It] is one part in the center of a long narrative that tells the story of two people in love despite the forces trying to keep them apart,” she says in a statement. “On its own, the song is about two impatient young lovers, but in the context of the Hopeless Fountain Kingdom universe, the stakes are much higher for these two star-crossed lovers.”
Hopeless Fountain Kingdom will be released on June 2nd. Like Badlands, the new LP is a quasi-concept album about a couple stuck in a limbo-like realm. The 22-year-old singer-songwriter teamed up with Greg Kurstin, Ricky Reed, Lido and Blanco to executive produce the album. Following the success of her Chainsmokers collaboration “Closer,” Halsey revealed to Rolling Stone that she’s open to creating more mainstream, radio-friendly pop. “I am more than capable of writing radio music,” she said. “And hopefully I’ll put my money where my mouth is on this album.”