Halsey’s “Without Me” Song Review

Hello, I’m MusiCommentator, and I know I seem like I’m coming in pretty late to review this song, but I’ve wanted to review this song for a while.  I was going to do it when it became Halsey’s first #1 hit, but I was too busy assembling my 2019 year-end lists to write it.  Then I wanted to do it at the beginning of January, but I had to get my Every Eminem Album RANKED (Worst to Best) post out, so this song just kind of flew by the wayside for me.  But now, about two months after this song peaked on the Billboard charts, I’m finally going to review this song.  But first, some background info on Halsey.

Halsey…oh, Halsey.  I can’t say I’ve had a very good past with her.  She is one of those artists whose public controversies seem to outshine their music, and boy does she have plenty of controversy.  Her most infamous controversy is obviously the “shampoo incident” in which she ranted about hotel shampoos for being “racist” because they don’t accommodate African-American hair (despite herself not being black).  But, when you look into it, there are many other things she has done that make my skin crawl.  There are two videos I really like that cover this topic by Beyond ARTV and Bed Reviews (which you can watch by clicking here and here, respectively), but my main issue lies in the fact that she acts like her music and persona is super deep and that she stands above all other pop artists, when really her music and views have almost the same messages as many of the pop artists that she looks down on.  This makes me stay away from most of Halsey’s music, but when I saw that this song “Without Me” became her first #1 solo hit, I had to check it out.

Found you when your heart was broke
I filled your cup until it overflowed
Took it so far to keep you close (Keep you close)
I was afraid to leave you on your own

This is the first verse of the song, and it sets up the narrative of the track, which is about Halsey being hurt by an ex-lover who took advantage of her.  Doesn’t really help your whole “my music is alternative” case when you take on a topic this cliché, does it Halsey?  However, just in this first verse, I can see clear improvements from her other music.  I don’t find her voice nearly as annoying as I have in past songs, and I’m a sucker for dark instrumentals, so I like this beat.

I said I’d catch you if you fall (Fall)
And if they laugh, then f*ck ’em all (All)
And then I got you off your knees
Put you right back on your feet
Just so you could take advantage of me

The first verse was exposition, so this bridge sets up the broken down emotions Halsey displays through the track, saying how she helped her ex-lover off their feet but they just cast her aside, which can be quite heartbreaking.

Tell me, how’s it feel sittin’ up there?
Feelin’ so high, but too far away to hold me
You know I’m the one who put you up there
Name in the sky, does it ever get lonely?

These are probably the best set of lyrics in this song, as they provide some nice imagery that is built up by the verses and bridge.  I’d keep talking about the lyrics, but there’s not really much more to discuss, as everything that I have said is basically just retold throughout the rest of the song.

Overall, I would say this is a step up from most of Halsey’s other music.  The song has a dark trap aesthetic which I think really works with the despairing lyrics, and Halsey’s voice is better than it is on previous tracks I have heard her on.  However, it is a pretty bland pop track when the lyrics are delved into.  There’s nothing challenging or compelling that I can grab on to, and while all pop songs don’t need to be some crazy figurative language mind puzzle, the lyrics are almost cookie-cutter here.  Comparing this to a song like Marshmello and Bastille’s “Happier“, those lyrics feel like they came straight from the heart and have a strong sense of maturity for a Top 40 pop song.  This song’s lyrics, on the other hand, while they are sung with a heartbroken inflection, sound like they could have come out of a “heartbreak-pop-song-lyric-generator”.  I wouldn’t call this a bad song, as I’ve jammed out to it multiple times now, so I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.  Do you agree?

Thank you for reading my “Without Me” song review.  If you liked this review, make sure to follow my website, Twitter, and Instagram, like this post, and be sure to check in to read my future reviews.  Also, if you have something you want to see me review, tell me in the comments.  Until then, keep on listening to good music! I know I will.


10 thoughts on “Halsey’s “Without Me” Song Review

  1. I’m not feeling those lyrics, though I do think its actually good, feels very off still, it doesn’t sound like love the way the lyrics are claiming it to be.

    But I have to disagree with the shampoo comment, she wasn’t saying the shampoo was racist. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/04/30/singer-halsey-stirs-debate-over-hotels-offering-only-white-people-shampoo/ – is a good article on it. The issue seems more focused on the hotel shampoo demographic catering towards white patrons, from what I hear, black hair is more difficult because of curls, and hotel shampoo seems to cater towards a white default.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the lyrics are a bit generic, but about the shampoo thing, I think what’s ridiculous about it is that she’s EXPECTING hotel shampoo to be good. While it might cater to Caucasian hair more than African American hair by default, hotel shampoo isn’t good, period. It’s just there to tide a customer over if they don’t have shampoo, and most people do bring shampoo with them if they’re going to be at a hotel. Someone like Halsey should probably have shampoo with her if she’s going to be touring, so it seems odd for hee to be complaining about THAT when there are plenty of other more significant problems most hotels have.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree that it’s better to take a shampoo with you, and that hotel shampoo isn’t good, period, but sometimes people might just forget and it would be, in comparison to a white person, more difficult for a black woman to use shampoo like that therefore making hotel shampoo being a product that reflects the white default. In that way, it requires black women having to always expend more effort despite options being granted to them being minimal. They have to do more while being given less. It reflects supermarket aisles as well, there’s less geared towards black women. There are bigger issues, sure, but these micro-aggressions, these small things in life, make up life. They’re a reflection of big politics.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. While this is a pretty good break-up song, it is not an exceptional one. I agree with you, it is quite generic. However, I understand why it is so popular. A lot of people tend to relate to it.

    Liked by 1 person

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