Halsey 'Unlearned Being Likeable' For 'If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power'


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Back in August, Halsey debuted their fourth studio album titled If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power. Ahead of its release, the pop star described the project as "a concept album about the joys and horrors of pregnancy and childbirth."

Following the project's release, Halsey opened up about one particular track, 'I am not a woman, I’m a god,' and the e ‘zero f—ks given’ mindset they had while making the album.

“I’ve always wanted to make that kind of a record that was unapologetic and just didn’t care about chart success or trends or whatever,” Halsey explained in a recent interview. “You have to remove yourself from popular media and be like ‘Okay, what do I want to write?’ and not ‘Is this going to sound good on the radio right now?’”

For Halsey, that meant exploring their pregnancy through music. “I knew I was anxious; I knew I was worried about the future, I knew I was reckoning with this hypothetical loss of autonomy or innocence, or whatever it was,” they continued.

Halsey wanted the album to feel as "tense and anxious" as they were feeling. "There are stakes, and it needs to be visceral and palpable," they added. To create that feeling, Halsey turned to Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to produce the album. The 'Bad at Love' singer called the collaboration a "dream come true.'

"As much as I love the music, at a first mention – Halsey + Nine Inch Nails – I feel like before this album most people go ‘Ughhh, I don’t see it,'" Halsey recalled. "But I knew there was this commonality in that we both love to make cinematic music and music that tells a story.”

Ultimately, Halsey made this album for themself. “I haven’t felt that way about music since my debut album," they said, but first they had to block out all the noise on social media. “I had to unlearn being likeable and my art would suffer if I didn’t.”

“I mean the album’s called If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power. That’s a pretty unlikeable statement,” they continued. “Which is funny because I grew up on Fallout Boy, Panic! At The Disco, and My Chemical Romance and all these bands that song titles are a paragraph long – so it’s cool knowing where that come from.”

As for the track ‘I am not a woman, I’m a god,’ Halsey says there were "a lot of things that were motivating that statement," including their pregnancy and an "existential crisis about my expression of gender and sexuality."

"I’m publicly bi-sexual and out. But I’m pregnant, I’m in a hetero-facing relationship and I’m also someone who’s had a really fluid gender identity most of my life," Halsey explained. "And all of a sudden, Bam! I’m like, boobs! Butt! Belly! Having a baby - everything is about this essence of womanhood. I got hit in the face of it."

Halsey describes the evocative lyric as a "kind of a coping mechanism, being like ‘Yo dude, you’re creating life! This is the most important and coolest thing you’ll ever do for you individually’. You gotta stop and just embrace it. ‘I’m amazing, what I’m doing is amazing.’"

Halsey welcomed baby Ender with Alev Adin on July 14, 2021. Shortly after Ender's arrival, the proud parents released a statement about the birth: "Gratitude. For the most 'rare' and euphoric birth. Powered by love."


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