Review: WH Grad Halsey’s Adventurous Film and 4th Album


Roisin McCluskey, Staff Reporter

Fans of Halsey were astonished last year by the release of her creative masterpiece If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, also referred to as IICHLIWP.
Ashley Frangipane, a former Warren Hills student known mainly by her stage alias, Halsey, announced her fourth studio album June 27, but she waited two months to release it. She also directed a movie by the same name, telling the story of Queen Lila, played by herself, and her experience with pregnancy, childbirth, sexuality, grief and other subjects.
The 13-track album covers similar topics from the movie through Halsey’s perspective: sexuality, gender, heartbreak, a lust for power, betrayal, mortality, motherhood, pregnancy, independence, emotion and self-discovery. The album runs for nearly 43 minutes.
In its concept and theatrical creativity, the positives and negatives of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood play a big role in the production and release of the IICHLIWP album and movie.
Halsey, who prefers “they,” “their” and “them” as well as “she,” “her” and “hers” to refer to herself because those pronouns “feel most authentic to me,” was pregnant while producing both projects, and the pregnancy heavily influenced the themes and meanings behind each one.
Pregnancy is known to be a very emotional and exciting experience for new parents. Halsey’s son was born over a month before the release of the album, but it was a powerful presentation for them and their fans nonetheless.
Track 11, “I Am Not a Woman, I’m a God,” was the first single to be released, coming to the radio on Aug. 31. It was a turning point in LGBTQ+ media, leading many female, feminine presenting and transgender individuals to associate and relate to the song. It was widespread across the internet in September, including the social media platform TikTok, with more than 8,100 videos recorded to the track’s sound there alone.
IICHLIWP offers a variety of music genres, including but not limited to pop, alternative rock, punk rock and grunge. Many songs feature incredibly smooth transitions into their follow-ups, which prove to be pleasing to the ears.
Both Rolling Stone and Genius rated IICHLIWP in their top 50 albums of 2021, and BBC generously placed it in its top 10 albums of 2021. Due to its cinematic nature and daring concept, these titles are well-deserved.
The IICHLIWP film was also well-received, reinventing the way pregnancy and childbirth are seen by the outside world. It explores the horrors of pregnancy and childbirth from the perspective of the queen. The songs, while not in the same order as in the album, help set up the story further, bringing emotion and excitement to the big screen in a way that is rarely seen.
While there are very few speaking roles, the movie entertains viewers. Fans and non-fans seem equally intrigued, applauding Halsey’s acting, direction, production and soundtrack.
On Jan. 31, Halsey announced there would be an upcoming tour for their album, titled the “Love and Power Tour.” It is set to begin May 17 and continue through July 9, ending just before their son’s first birthday. Halsey is expected to perform in nearby New York City June 11.
Overall, this critically-acclaimed album has been a revolutionary turning point for Halsey, the music industry and the film industry. Their experimental nature toward these concepts has proven positive outcomes for Halsey and fans of their music. Nonetheless, fans are eagerly awaiting what project is in store next.