Music Video Breakdown: 'Colors' by Halsey


Are you uncertain as to the correct pronunciation of “Halsey?” Does it sound kinda weird when you practice saying it out loud, just to yourself? Did you try to brush the problem under the rug, hoping her fame would be short-lived?

Me too! But when her name appeared on Justin Bieber’s latest album, she seemed to be sending us a sort of coded message, something along the lines of “LEARN MY F-----G NAME ALREADY.” So after some research tactics held to the most rigorous of journalistic standards, we’re happy to report that the universally accepted pronunciation appears to be hall-see. Say it five times fast! With that off your shoulders, you’re at leisure to enjoy her latest music video, “Colors.” This work does an impressive job of pointing out the oft-neglected luxuries of modern life, specifically Taylor Swift and social media.

Halsey is cast as the lead in this new piece. This decision is meant to initiate a string of striking similarities to T-Swift, who is also typically cast as the lead in her own music videos. Equally uncanny is their shared hair color. Halsey has been known to experiment with a range of shades, and this year has largely consisted of her “blue phase.” In “Colors,” however, she appears onscreen with platinum blonde locks. A strange choice for a song with the refrain “Everything is blue”—and one that can only be explained by a deep-seated desire to become Taylor Swift.

Two other instances of imagery from “Colors” confirm this suspicion. First, Halsey spends the majority of her time onscreen taking Polaroid pictures, putting those Polaroids in her mouth, and glueing the Polaroids of her middle-aged lover into a scrapbook (more on this later). But wait…no one takes Polaroids anymore, right? No one except Taylor Swift! #1989. Second, Halsey only puts her camera down for the shots during which she repeatedly applies an obnoxiously red shade of lipstick. But wait…no one could possibly wear that many coats of red lipstick, right? No one except Taylor Swift! #Red.

The specter of Taylor Swift adds to Halsey’s greater message in “Colors”: an appreciation for all things millennial. The 1950s-prep school world in which this video takes place is harrowingly devoid of social media. The basic storyline is that cute, blonde Halsey is hopelessly in love, so much so that she must resort to pining by rolling around on her bed in her underwear. The beginning of the video leads us to believe her love interest is the character played by dark-haired hunk Tyler Posey (of “Teen Wolf” fame). Nope. It turns out it’s actually Posey’s middle-aged dad, whom Halsey’s mother is also doting on! Did you just cringe? Watch the video, and you’ll cringe harder.

Her secret crush finally becomes not-so-secret when she accidently drops all the secret Polaroid pictures that she has been stalkerish-ly taking of her man through a crack in the country club locker room door. And just her luck—she drops them ONTO Posey. That may sound confusing, but the moral of the story is this: Thank God for Snapchat. If she’d only been born into the 2000s, those creepy pics would have vanished seconds after she took them. Even the ones she screenshotted would be safely hidden in her camera roll, instead of falling into her boyfriend’s son’s lap. On top of that, if she were a millennial she would know that Tyler Posey has 2.3 MILLION followers on Instagram! Look at that social currency! Why would she waste her time on his dad?!

Halsey wants people to stop blaming things like short-attention spans and social anxiety on technology and start appreciating our iPhones a little more. In the old days, a lack of apps ruined the lives of underage girls and their 50-year-old lovers. And Taylor Swift wasn’t even alive.

—Staff writer Rebecca H. Dolan can be reached at rebecca.dolan@thecrimson.com.

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