Review: “If I Can’t Have Love I Want Power” is a perfect blend of genres

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K. Meyer, Staff Writer

Halsey’s 2021 album release “If I Can’t Have Love I Want Power” did not disappoint, offering impactful lyrics and fresh melodies. Neither did the Jan. 3 release of its extended edition. 

Halsey has had her fair share of time in the spotlight. They released their first album in 2015, landing them a number 2 hit on the Billboard Hot 200 album charts. Their music style utilizes the genres of indie and alternative music, and she’s most known for releasing concept albums. Following the release of the album, she dropped a film that follows the album’s theme and uses the new songs as the soundtrack. The film parallels the messages conveyed in the album: motherhood, body horror, and gender. 

The idea of gender polarization categorizes genders as complete opposites: you can either be masculine or feminine, and nothing exists in between. This idea is explored and challenged in the opening track of “If I Can’t Have Love I Want Power,” “The Tradition.” Halsey sings, “So take what you want, take what you can. Take what you please, don’t give a damn. Ask for forgiveness, never permission.” These words set the tone for the boundary-pushing that the whole album goes on to do.

This album has a multitude of memorable songs, but the most memorable are “Honey,” “Lilith,” and “The Lighthouse.” “Honey” is a pop-punk love song with driving drums and catchy lyrics that will leave you with a sweet taste in your mouth. “Lilith” is a bass-heavy song that delivers deep lyrics with an insane groove. “The Lighthouse,” my favorite, creates a different, new sound, with low synths and a puzzling conclusion which will leave your head swimming. 

The extended edition, released on Jan. 3, adds the bonus tracks “Nightmare,” “Nightmare – Reprise” and “People disappear here.” “Nightmare,” which was released on May 7, 2019, was Halsey’s big push into rock music. “Nightmare – Reprise” is a re-imagined version by Nine Inch Nails. “People disappear here” is a truly haunting song. The unusual production style and eccentric melodies leave listeners unsettled. 

This whole album is filled to the brim with wonderful music for everyone. It displays a wide range of genres, from a slow country ballad in “Darling” to alternative rock in “I am not a woman, I’m a god.” I love the vibe and wide range of music styles of “If I Can’t Have Love I Want Power.” If you take anything away from this review, it should be to give the album a listen with an open mind.