Halsey 'Nightmare': 15 hidden details in the lyrics and video we bet you missed
17 May 2019, 18:59 | Updated: 17 May 2019, 20:20
The meaning behind Halsey's 'Nightmare' video and lyrics is so important...
Halsey's new single 'Nightmare' is finally here and the video and lyrics contain multiple hidden details and easter eggs.
Halsey never fails us. Over the course of her five-year career, she's wowed us time and time again. With Badlands, she made a name for herself as one of the most promising young artists in pop today, with hopeless fountain kingdom she honed in on her talent and with 'Without Me' she topped the charts with her most vulnerable release to date. Now Halsey is back with a new era and the 'Nightmare' video and lyrics are filled with hints about what's to come.
What do Halsey's 'Nightmare' lyrics and video mean?
'Nightmare' is a triumph. In lieu of opting for something safe and radio friendly to kickstart H3, Halsey has fully embraced her emo pop-punk heart and delivered an anthem for women in 2019. From calling out cat-calling "No I won't smile but I'll show you my teeth" to putting slut-shamers and controlling men on blast "I've been polite, but won't be caught dead // Lettin' a man tell me what I should do in my bed", each lyric is vital.
'Nightmare' couldn't be any more timely. In the wake of terrifying sexist legislation in the US and around the world (this week Alabama passed the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in America), we need to amplify women's voices and work to protect their rights. Halsey has always used her platform to speak out against all forms of social injustice. 'Nightmare' embodies everything she stands for and the video follows suit.
Watch Halsey's 'Nightmare' video here.
Directed by Hannah Lux Davis ('thank u next', '7 rings'), the 'Nightmare' video sees Halsey lead her own revolution. From the looks to the setting, everything is carefully thought out and means something, just like the lyrics in the song itself. With that in mind, we've analysed the video and scoured social media to find all of the hidden details and Easter eggs in the music video and lyrics for you.
1. Halsey appears to reveal the H3 title and release date.
Mere moments into the video Halsey holds up a mugshot board in a prison line-up and fans were quick to realise that it says "CA MNI" which is an anagram of 'Maniac'. It also has "10-2019" written on it. The video features a scene in which women hold up newspapers with the name 'Maniac' on them too. It seems likely that Halsey is teasing that her album is called 'Maniac' and will be released in October this year.
2. The intro to the song is an 18th century prayer.
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord, my soul to keep
If I shall die before I 'wake
I pray the Lord, my soul to take
'Now I lay me down to sleep' is a popular children's bedtime prayer from the 18th century and it's still used by some people today as a way of soothing kids to sleep. Given the somewhat ominous lines, it's the perfect intro for 'Nightmare'. It's also a great foil for the song itself. Instead of introducing us to a dream, Halsey introduces us to her: the nightmare.
3. Halsey subverts the housewife archetype.
Throughout history, women have been forced to attend to men's needs and play the role of the perfect wife. In 'Nightmare', Halsey deconstructs this image by acting out a manic caricature of the American housewife. The scene and the message behind it is reminiscent of Beyoncé's 'Why Don't You Love Me?' music video.
4. Halsey centres women in rock.
At it's heart, 'Nightmare' is a rock song. For years, women's voices and contributions in rock music have been ignored and belittled by men in music. By leading her own all female mosh pit, Halsey uplifts women and reminds people that rock isn't exclusive to men.
5. Halsey directly references her own music.
we are in a time where rights for women are being threatened and halsey really said a big FUCK YOU with this track. she is LOUD. she is ANGRY. and it’s what we need. #HalseyNightmare— MILLA (@millaberntsen) May 17, 2019
I, I keep a record of the wreckage in my life
I gotta recognise the weapon in my mind
As an artist, Halsey documents "the wreckage in [her] life" with every song she makes. Here she's referencing all of her work and calling on herself to "recognise" how powerful she is. Not only that but she's encouraging her female listeners to realise that they all have a "weapon in [their] mind" too.
6. The Cara Delevigne cameo is really important.
The video features popular models and actresses Cara Delevigne and Suki Waterhouse donning power suits with Halsey. It's a stunning image but it's also important because Cara is sexually fluid and Halsey is bisexual. The scene proves that Halsey is keen on empowering other LGBTQ+ youth by providing them with as much representation as possible.
7. Halsey gets candid about her past relationships.
I've had the rug pulled beneath my feet
I've trusted lies and trusted men
Broke down and put myself back together again
Halsey has opened up in songs like 'Without Me' about how men have wronged her in the past: "And then I got you off your knees // Put you right back on your feet // Just so you could take advantage of me". Here she alludes to that and how she's built herself back up after every heartbreak.
8. Halsey gets honest about body confidence.
I've pinched my skin in between my two fingers
And wished I could cut some parts off with some scissors
Women face numerous societal pressures to fit impossible beauty standards so it's no wonder that even Halsey doesn't always feel confident in her own skin. In the video, Halsey shows a model with plastic surgery markings and a measuring tape, while she sings these lines. It's incredibly candid and raw.
9. Halsey ends cat-callers.
Nightmare from @halsey is the female empowerment song that came just in the nick of time with women’s rights hanging in the balance. Literal goosebumps.— emily (@emilyinacoma) May 17, 2019
“We don’t owe you a goddamn thing” #halseynightmare
"Come on, little lady, give us a smile"
No, I ain't got nothin' to smile about
I got no one to smile for, I waited a while for
A moment to say I don't owe you a goddamn thing
The lyrics pretty much speak for themselves. However, when Halsey sings this on tour, and thousands of fans shout "I don't owe you a goddamn thing" in unison, it's going to be a moment. Halsey has written her own rallying cry.
10. The video is filled with feminist signs.
"You smile asshole" is our personal favourite. What's yours?
11. Children are the future.
The video contains a scene of Halsey with a group of young school girls outside of a school bus. It's a striking reminder that we need to raise girls to feel empowered and work so that they don't have to experience the same bullshit that women have experienced before them.
12. The bridge is a sequel to 'Devil In Me'.
Someone like me can be a real nightmare, completely aware
But I'd rather be a real nightmare, than die unaware, yeah
Speaking to Dazed about 'Devil In Me', Halsey said: "It’s really about is me going back and rediscovering the parts of myself that I might have stifled because my boyfriend didn’t like it – like being too loud, too obnoxious, or how correcting a fucking racist in public embarrassed him. I needed to go back and pull all these parts out of me and stop being ashamed of who I am." The bridge in 'Nightmare' proves she won't be stifled anymore; she is embracing every part of herself.
13. Halsey poses in Shibari in the video.
Shibari is a popular form of Japanese bondage. Halsey stands in it, serene, while singing the bridge of 'Nightmare'. In doing so, she is not only normalising BDSM but she is also showing how she is in control of herself and has overcome the bonds that have been placed on her by her exes and men at large. Halsey also wears dominatrix attire in the video, alluding to her power and confidence.
14. Debbie Harry appears in the video.
Not a hidden detail persay but as one of rock's most iconic figures, it's incredibly iconic that Halsey got Debbie to co-star in the 'Nightmare' video. It also shows that Halsey is honouring the women who paved the way for her, just as much as she is keen to centre the ones who will come after her.
15. The video is a protest but it also literally features a protest.
Halsey is calling on her listeners to unite and fight for women's rights. We have no choice but to stan.