Now Or Never

Album: Hopeless Fountain Kingdom (2017)
Charted: 17

Songfacts®:

  • Halsey's relationship with her lover has reached a critical stage. She has had enough of his lack of commitment – she feels they don't spend enough time together and he never calls her. She tells him on this song that it is now time to "draw the line" and make his mind up. It's "now or never."
  • The bass-heavy downtempo production is courtesy of:

    Hitmaking American Benny Blanco whose resume includes #1s for Ke$ha ("TiK ToK"), Katy Perry ("California Gurls," "Teenage Dream"), Rihanna ("Diamonds"), Maroon 5 ("Moves Like Jagger") and Justin Bieber ("Love Yourself").

    Norwegian producer Cashmere Cat who has supplied the instrumentation for songs by Kid Ink ("Body Language") and Ariana Grande ("Be My Baby").

    Happy Perez, who has also worked with Miguel ("Sure Thing," "A Beautiful Exit") and Robin Schulz ("Sugar").
  • Halsey has a history of depression and she told iHeart Radio that Benny Blanco served as her "therapist in a weird way" throughout the recording process. "We'd finish the track and then be ready to go, and he'd (Blanco) be like, 'Hey, I heard that thing you sang. Are you OK?'," the singer recalled. "It was kind of like he was hearing a cry for help in what I was singing, which was cool because it made us bond."
  • Halsey first previewed the R&B slow burner for an intimate group of 100 fans gathered in a London chapel in late February 2017.
  • The accompanying six minute music clip was co-directed by Halsey and Sing J Lee (Chvrches, Muse, Years & Years) and filmed in Mexico City. The visual chronicles a forbidden romance.

    Halsey said: "The video for 'Now Or Never' (my directorial debut!) is one part in the center of a long narrative that tells the story of two people in love despite the forces trying to keep them apart. On its own the song is about two impatient young lovers, but in the context of the hopeless fountain kingdom universe, the stakes are much higher for these two star-crossed lovers."
  • Halsey told Beats 1 host Zane Lowe Hopeless Fountain Kingdom was inspired by a "prolonged, toxic" breakup. This is reflected in the way Romeo and Juliet symbolism is sprinkled across the album, including on this song. Halsey was inspired by Baz Luhrmann's 1996 film of the Shakespeare play starring Leonardo DiCaprio. She told Lowe:

    "I was so obsessed with Romeo + Juliet and I didn't make the correlation I loved the film because of what was happening in my real life. One day as I was getting to the rising action of the record - the moment where I'm realizing the love is doomed, this like forsaken kind of thing - I realized that that's why I was so obsessed with the [movie]. Because I felt like I was living it."
  • Asked by Entertainment Weekly what is the Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, Halsey replied: "That was a phrase that I heard an old friend of mine use when we were in New York and living in this sort of fantasy, upside-down world where everyone I knew was doing drugs and didn't have jobs and everyone was f--king each other. It was this psychedelic dream space."
  • Hopeless Fountain Kingdom was inspired by a prolonged, toxic breakup and centers around two lovers in a paranormal world. Halsey explained to Radio.com:

    "I was going through this really prolonged, drawn-out, toxic breakup, and I realized that it was a really normal thing, a normal human experience. Going through a breakup is something a lot of people go through, but in that time to me, it felt like the end of the world. It felt paranormal. It felt like a parallel universe. So what I did was I took that experience and turned it into this concept record, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. It's kind of like when you're a little kid and you climb a tree, smash cut to a daydream of you on top of a mountain, above the clouds, and you're on top of the world, then smash cut to you back in a tree, and you're like, 'Oh, I'm just in a tree.'

    And that's kind of what it was like for me going through this breakup, where I felt like we were these two dueling, from different worlds, hero-heroine situation, and then I'd wake up and realize I just had a bad boyfriend. But I wanted to translate that into this world where love conquers all, this afterlife, this Romeo and Juliet story. So I wrote a record that is confident, it's vibrant, it's visceral; most importantly, it's not about him, it's about me. And I called it Hopeless Mountain Kingdom."
  • Hopeless Fountain Kingdom was released on June 2, 2017 and went straight to the top of the charts in the US. Halsey was the first female artist to go to #1 on the Billboard 200 in 2017.

    "Everyone thought I would be excited," she told NME of the achievement. "And I was, but I think there are so many women who've put out better albums than me that deserve that. So all we can do is keep shining a light on the female artists that we love and give them the exposure they deserve."

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