As the release of Halsey's sophomore album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, draws closer, the singer has shared a new song from the project. The track titled "Eyes Closed" was co-written by the Weeknd, according to Rolling Stone, and his influence is palpable.
Halsey has often dabbled with more ominous undertones — BADLANDS' "Gasoline" and "Control," for example — but "Eyes Closed" seems like her darkest work to date, backing lovelorn yet sensual lyrics with sinister, minimalist production. If you revisit the Weeknd's discography, that's kind of his modus operandi. His 2015 record, Beauty Behind the Madness, was saturated with gloomy but gorgeous R&B, and last year's Starboy followed suit. He's also built a reputation for provocative, lust-centric lyricism, which is present on "Eyes Closed," too.
It's a fitting collaboration, given Halsey's inspiration for her upcoming record. To coincide with the debut of "Eyes Closed," she did an interview with Apple Music's Zane Lowe and director Baz Luhrmann, in which she elaborated on Hopeless Fountain Kingdom's Romeo + Juliet touchstones. She explained that she and Luhrmann, who helmed the 1996 film, sat down for a three-hour brunch to talk about how the movie had shaped her new music. Halsey said,
"I had watched it over and over and over again. One day I realized as I was getting to the thick of the rising action of the record — the moment where I'm realizing that the love is this doomed, forsaken kind of thing, I realize that that's why I was so obsessed with the film. I felt like I was living it."
So, it makes sense that her work for Hopeless Fountain Kingdom would sound tragic but beautiful, much like the story of Romeo + Juliet. And it's right up The Weeknd's alley. Listen for yourself below:
He may not be physically on the track, but you can hear The Weeknd loud and clear.