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Halsey’s Song About Ex Matty Healy Sees Streaming Surge After ‘The Tortured Poets Department’

Halsey Claims to Be Trapped in A Madhouse In New Message
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Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department has introduced fans to Patti Smith, The Black Dog, and, apparently, a Halsey song from 2015.

Swift, 34, released TTPD on Friday, April 19, and the album is filled with songs about her relationship with Matty Healy of The 1975. While Swift’s new project has smashed streaming and sales records, it also has seemingly boosted “Colors,” a track from Halsey’s debut studio album, Badlands. A Halsey fan account on X called @HalseyData reported that the song, released as the album’s third single, was played 122,027 times on Spotify alone following TTPD.

“Colors” was inspired by Halsey’s relationship with Healy, 35, after they were linked in 2015.

“We’re both attracted to characters, and we saw that in each other,” Halsey said in an interview about their fling. “I spent a lot of time watching him and he spent a lot of time loving being watched. But if you think he’s the first red-wine-drinking, pretty-boy rocker in skinny jeans I’ve been associated with, you’re out of your f—king mind.”

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In “Colors,” Halsey sings, “Your little brother never tells you but he loves you so / You said your mother only smiled on her TV show.” Healy’s mother, Denise Welch, is a host on the U.K. talk show Loose Women. The song also references a partner being “only happy when your sorry head is filled with dope,” and Healy has been open about his battle with heroin addiction.

Halsey said in a 2016 interview that the song is about watching “the vibrancy start to leak out” of a loved one. “Whether they’re falling victim to drugs or falling victim to work or any sort of negative behavior that’s kind of taking them away from the bright and lively person that they used to be,” they added.

Halsey’s latest album, 2021’s If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, was produced by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. It featured an industrial sound, a departure from Halsey’s past pop endeavors, and marked their final album with Capitol Records, with Halsey’s relationship with the label reaching a breaking point in May 2022. (According to Variety, Halsey previously claimed Capitol wouldn’t promote “So Good” as a single without “a viral moment on TikTok.” The label responded in an open letter, insisting they would “support” Halsey, who eventually left in April 2023.)

Halsey signed with Columbia Records in June 2023, seemingly referencing their struggles within the music industry in an Instagram Story on Sunday, April 22.


Related: Matty Healy's Dating History: Taylor Swift, Halsey and More

“I think I love Spirited Away because I too feel like I woke up bewildered, far away from everyone I know and love, and took a job in a madhouse via a contract signed with my blood,” they wrote alongside an image of a character from the anime film, seemingly comparing the industry to a “madhouse” where “greedy monsters appear to gobble everything up and no matter what happens, I can’t forget my real name.”

Earlier this year, Halsey indicated that new music is on the way. “When you tried to write [your] album from a healed POV and suddenly, the voices start saying ‘talk [your] s—t,” she wrote in a February 24 video captioned, “Is it yes or is it save for later?”

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