Her first single since her #1 hit "Without Me," Halsey takes the breakup song's heartbreak and raw pain and transforms it into an emotional universal cry for equality. Before the song's release, the singer hinted that her newest song would be a much-needed angry anthem -- and she definitely wasn't joking. In the song, Halsey is angry about the state of the world around her and the rude messages she receives (mostly by men) that have made her question her self-worth and appearance.
In previous songs, Halsey has openly talked about being mistreated by men in past relationships, and she alludes to this in "Nightmare": "I've had the rug pulled beneath my feet. I've trusted lies and trusted men, broke down and put myself back together again." As her most daring single to date, Halsey makes it known that the current state of the world, media's portrayal of women and beauty, and how we all view women is not good enough. She makes her rage loud, plain, and clear-- that things need to change -- especially now.
"I'm tired and angry but somebody should be," Halsey sings, letting her audience know that she understands them and that the frustration that comes with being a woman is identifiable.
"Come on, little lady, give us a smile. No, I ain't got nothing to smile about." She sings about the sexualization behind men telling women to smile: in some cases, it's completely innocent, but it's a demanding social command. In a HuffPost article, it states that "it makes women feel like we are only meant to be happy and pretty."
Halsey openly sings about society's unrealistic expectations of women, including how the media's portrayal of unrealistic body types leads to self-doubt and low self-esteem in young women: "Stared in the mirror and punched it to shatters/Collected the pieces and picked out a dagger/I've pinched my skin in between my two fingers/And wished I could cut some parts off with some scissors." This section not only presents independence and "breaking down" the barrier of inequality but it also gives relatable insight into the sad reality of why most women are not confident in the way they look.
In the rock, alternative song, Halsey delivers some powerful lines, "No, I won't smile, but I'll show you my teeth," and "Cause kindness is weakness, or worse, you're complacent/I could play nice or I could be a bully," saying that the worst thing you can do right now is to be ignorant and stay silent.
In the music video, Halsey spends the duration questioning and redefining her confidence and womanhood, eventually choosing to stand up and fight back: first she's a punk leading a mosh pit, then a primped-up housewife furiously sliding a vacuum, then a dominatrix spitting at her voyeurs, then a glamorous model reading a newspaper with a headline that reads "It's Our Turn." "Nightmare" truly is THE ultimate girl-power anthem, and many of her female fans are cheering not only Halsey but other women on. Being Halsey's most powerful and relatable song to date, "Nightmare" needs more attention. Go listen to it!
no live performance has made me feel so many mixed emotions like nightmare there’s anger, empowerment, emotions rel… https://t.co/F24OFVHDzk— lu (@lu) 1558409583.0
i love how halsey ended men #halseynightmare https://t.co/QuCQqrkD18— 𝖘𝖔𝖒𝖊𝐲𝖆 💉 (@𝖘𝖔𝖒𝖊𝐲𝖆 💉) 1558108896.0
Halsey on the set of the Nightmare video! #HalseyNightmare https://t.co/tB3FWjffuf— Halsey Updates 🖤 (@Halsey Updates 🖤) 1558101629.0
Halsey - Nightmare youtu.be