On “Bad at Love,” the latest single off of her mammoth LP, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, Halsey claims that when it comes to matters of the heart, her skills can use some polishing. “I’m bad at love / But you can’t blame me for tryin’… You were the one / That could finally fix me / Lookin’ at my history / I’m bad at love,“ she sings on the propulsive, brooding breakup anthem.
That may be true, but when it comes to the art of being a pop star, well, Halsey’s got that on lock. The latest example of her pop star proficiency comes in the form of her video for “Bad at Love,” an ambitious on-the-run saga that slyly winks at iconic good-girls-gone-bad road movies like Thelma and Louise.
It’s also worth noting that the video—which was directed by Sing J Lee and Halsey herself—picks up right where her “Now or Never” video left off. This is significant because it reveals an artist who is fully engaged in the crafting of her own image and art. More importantly, it positions Halsey as someone with near impeccable taste (please see the latest issue of Playboy for further evidence).
The release of the “Bad at Love” video also comes just one week after her contemporaries released clunky and flubbed visual pieces that did nothing to enhance their own personas. Katy Perry’s “Swish Swish” video was meant as a meme-generating gift to the internet but came off as cruel and far too goofy, even for Perry. Meanwhile, Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” video felt like a cheap way to commercialize her many feuds while reshaping her persona into something far more threatening. It didn’t work mostly because it feels like not even Swift knows who she wants to be anymore.
That’s not the case with Halsey. Watching her cruise down the desert highway, top down and hands in the air, we can’t help but feel like this is who she is and there’s nowhere else she’d rather be.