With If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power, Halsey Is "Reclaiming [Their] Autonomy" Through Music
After the neon watercolor wildness of Manic, Halsey is embracing a completely new era of art in her fourth studio album, If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power. Abbreviated as IICHLIWP, the new album — produced by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross — is an examination of pregnancy and childbirth, which makes it fitting that the cover art, taken by Luca Garrido, depicts the singer as a combination of "the Madonna and the Wh*re," challenging the idea that women must be perceived as either saintly virgins or sexual deviants. On July 7, Halsey unveiled the stunning Renaissance-style artwork, which shows them seated on a gilded throne with a baby on her lap, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Since releasing their third studio album, Manic, on Jan. 17, 2020, Halsey has delved into her artistic side in more ways than one. On Nov. 10, 2020, Halsey released a book of poems titled I Would Leave Me If I Could, which explores topics like mental health, sexuality, relationships, longing, and love. The book debuted on The New York Times Best Sellers list, and the cover features an original piece of artwork by Halsey called "American Woman."
"This image is my means of reclaiming my autonomy and establishing my pride and strength." — Halsey
Further exploring their artistic side, she launched About-Face, a "multi-dimension makeup brand for everyone" that celebrates the beauty and diversity of humans, on Jan. 25. Two days later, the singer announced her pregnancy in a series of photos on Instagram, captioning the post, "Surprise! 🍼🌈👼🏻." As part of the announcement, Halsey tagged their boyfriend, screenwriter Alev Aydin, who commented, "Heart so full, I love you, sweetness ❤️❤️," to which she replied, "I love you!!!!! And I love this mini human already!" The couple then welcomed baby Ender Ridley Aydin to their family on July 14.
A true celebration of parenthood, Halsey described If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power as a "concept album about the joys and horrors of pregnancy and childbirth." In an Instagram caption on July 7, they continued, "It was very important to me that the cover art conveyed the sentiment of my journey over the past few months. The dichotomy of the Madonna and the Wh*re. The idea that me as a sexual being and my body as a vessel and gift to my child are two concepts that can co-exist peacefully and powerfully. My body has belonged to the world in many different ways the past few years, and this image is my means of reclaiming my autonomy and establishing my pride and strength as a life force for my human being." She added that the cover art is meant to celebrate the beauty of pregnant and postpartum bodies. "We have a long way to go with eradicating the social stigma around bodies & breastfeeding," they said. "I hope this can be a step in the right direction!"
You can listen to If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power, which was released on Aug. 27, for yourself, ahead.