Body image issues, beauty expectations, catcalls, societal expectations and angry women are all issues that star in Halsey’s newest music video for her first single “Nightmare”, off her highly anticipated third album. Her explosive new single- and even more powerful music video- are angry and political, fighting back against the expectations of women everywhere.
While Halsey hasn’t released the name of her upcoming album, she has set an extremely high bar with how amazing this song is. Compared to some of her other music video, “Nightmare” is the best executed and most thought out music video released to date.
Halsey has been an activist for feminism and for women’s rights over the years and it is something she uses her platform for a lot. Last year Halsey spoke at the Women’s March in New York and shared her experiences with sexual assault. Her passion and frustration with expectations of women is clearly seen in this music video.
In fact, every scene of Halsey’s visuals is thought out in her music video which only adds more context to her lyrics and adds for a more powerful message. Her song is more punk than what she has previously released and perfectly relays the frustrations of what it means to be a woman in 2019.
She starts off the video with herself as the stereotypical outdated perfect housewife: standing like a doll, fluffing her hair, with a form fitted sexy outfit on and holding a vacuum. The wood panel walls of the background added to the scene that mocked the outdated ideals of what a woman should be.
Later, the perfect housewife is seen frantically vacuuming, likely a critique on how the expectations of society and pressures put on women have them struggling to keep up and buckling under this pressure.
Halsey also uses her song to speak out about the too common problem of catcalling that affects and makes millions of women feel unsafe.
“‘Come on, little lady, give us a smile’ / No, I ain’t got nothin’ to smile about / I got no one to smile for, I waited a while for / A moment to say I don’t owe you a goddamn thing,” Halsey sings.
She follows this same theme later on in the song with, “No, I won’t smile, but I’ll show you my teeth.”
Various scenes of women in scantily clad outfits reflect the images constantly shown to us in ads and movies.
Another line, “I’ve pinched my skin in between my two fingers / And wished I could cut some parts off with some scissors” shows the singers own struggles with her body image and being under her scrutiny of the public eye.
Halsey adds more to that concept of being watched by all when she is in frame with microphones surrounding her face and invading her personal space. While grabbing a mic, she screams “I waited a while for / A moment to say I don’t owe you a goddamn thing.”
Throughout the video, Halsey inputs her analysis on the current state of things with a newspaper saying “It’s Our Turn!” and a riot scene with signs like “not your bitch” and “the system has failed us” intercut throughout the video.
With the recent attack on reproductive resources and more specifically, states banning abortions, this music video is released at an even more critical time.
One of “Nightmares” lines is even “I’m tired and angry, but somebody should be,” a reflection of the anger and frustration of million of women and nonbinary people around the world. Her other lyric “I’ve been polite, but won’t be caught dead / Lettin’ a man tell me what I should do with my bed” is also a reflection on how it is largely white males making rules on reproductive access and rights that affect women and people with a uterus.
Overall, Halsey has outdone herself with the messages she is conveying and using her artistic ability to continue to craft songs about important matters.
“Imagine getting onstage every night and seeing young women sweating mascara tears, lightning in their eyes, throwing elbows and raising fists, screaming till the veins in their necks raise under warm skin, and not being inspired by it,” Halsey tweeted following the video and song debut. “This song is about you, for you.”
Song and music video rating: 10/10