Since the release of her 2014 EP Room 93, Halsey has specialized in cinematic pop anthems and alternative R&B cuts, all anchored in her sweet but biting lilt and vivid coming of age anecdotes. Her latest single, “Nightmare” — produced by frequent collaborators Benny Blanco and Cashmere Cat — signals a noteworthy creative shift.
One of the song’s most jarring lines is something every woman has heard in some form from a male catcaller: “Come on, little lady, give us a smile.” Halsey declines with “No, I ain’t got nothin’ to smile about” over a percussive trap beat. It’s a universal truth that shows how suited she is to shine in this nightmarish moment.
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