Music to write to: Halsey

For artists and writers, music often plays an essential part of the creative process. Lyrical themes, brooding instrumentals and imaginative storytelling set to music can dramatically change the course of your novel, influence the mood of your characters or even break through a bad case of writers block.

Lately I’ve been putting together a playlist of some of my favourite tracks to write to, and thought I’d give a little insight into the tracks currently making my brain tick. Below is a small selection.


Interestingly enough, Halsey has made up a large majority of my playlist. Although I initially wasn’t a fan of her first single ‘Ghosts’, I decided to give her album a go after listening to a Triple J interview in which she described the creative process behind ‘Badlands’.

Surprisingly creative and vivid (particularly when compared with many commercial albums in 2015), ‘Badlands’ is an intriguing electro pop album filled with imaginative storytelling, dystopian narratives and a badass Halsey trying to navigate her way through haunting landscapes (inspired by movies such as Hunger Games, The Maze Runner and Apocalypse Now).

I imagined myself in the Badlands as this sort of female heroine where I’m kind of sick of the toxic behaviour around me and I want to say something about it but everybody is telling me I should probably keep my pretty mouth shut.

Halsey talks dystopian debut album, working with Lido, teases Aussie collab
OMG look at dat hair. Fly AF gurrll.

A uniquely visual album, Halsey incorporated textural elements and sounds to set the mood and bring her storytelling to life (eg. listen to the crunch of gravel/rocks under foot, jangling keys, and foreboding tones of danger in ‘Drive’) – another aspect that makes ‘Badlands’ the perfect accompaniment for writing my novel. As I make my way through the album, I imagine myself stalking quietly through dark streets, the smell of rain in the air and a sense of foreboding in my stomach.

Although it does at times fall victim to cliche rhymes and braggish topics such as smoking dope and screwing cute boys (“everyone wants to know if we fucked on the bathroom sink, how your hands felt in my hair…/ “we are the new americana, high on legal marijuana), its strengths lie in Halsey’s ability to paint vivid, moody stories that transport you to a dark world of haunted landscapes.

Favourite tracks: Haunting, Hurricane, Drive 

Best genres to write while listening: Thriller/Adventure/Suspense 

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