Without Me

Album: Manic (2018)
Charted: 3 1
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  • The songs on New Jersey native Ashley Frangipane's first two albums were all penned from her musical persona Halsey's point of view. She explained to MTV News: "Halsey is just a vehicle for me. Ashley is how I take my coffee. Halsey has a story to telI."

    However, "Without Me" finds the singer talking for the first time from her own point of view, rather than Halsey's. The standalone single is about the ups and downs of her relationship with Bay Area rapper G-Eazy and delves into the personal feelings of having a romance in the public eye.

    Gave love 'bout a hundred tries
    Just running from the demons in your mind
    Then I took yours and made 'em mine
    I didn't notice 'cause my love was blind

    Speaking with Beats 1's Zane Lowe, the singer explained she purposely dropped her Halsey musical persona to address the difficulties of her public relationship with G-Eazy. For once she's not protected by a character like on her Badlands and Hopeless Fountain Kingdom albums.

    "I have this record where it's just me. No wig, no colorful hair, no character, and it's about my life and about my relationship that the world has watched so closely and so vehemently in the past year and a half," she said.
  • This isn't the first time that Halsey has addressed her relationship with G-Eazy. During "Him & I," her romantic duet with the Bay Area rapper, the New Jersey songstress details a story of two star-crossed lovers. That track takes inspiration from the famous bank-robbing couple in the Great Depression era of the United States, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow.
  • The Louis Bell-produced track quotes in its bridge the pre-chorus from Justin Timberlake's 2002 hit single "Cry Me A River."

    You don't have to say just what you did
    I already know
    I had to go and find out from them
    So tell me, how's it feel?

    Like "Without Me," "Cry Me a River" features Timberlake singing about a high-profile relationship. In his case, the 'N Sync member addresses his romance with fellow pop singer Britney Spears; it was penned following a heated phone conversation between the pair.
  • Halsey admitted on Twitter that the recording process for "Without Me" was very emotional for her. "I cried the whole time I recorded it," she tweeted moments after the song was officially released. "But now I feel proud. And empowered."
  • Halsey teamed up with director Colin Tilley for the song's heartbreaking music video, which finds her involved in a toxic and volatile relationship with a bad boy. A number of fans commented that her love interest looks somewhat similar to G-Eazy. Speaking on SiriusXM's The Morning Mash Up about the resemblance of the male model in the visual to her ex, Halsey said. "Well, that's because I date very handsome men."
  • Halsey shared an Instagram note explaining that the video combines experiences from her own relationships with those of people she loves: She wrote: "The story is a reflection of a combination of relationships I've been in, or watched the people I love go through. It's a reminder that you deserve more. And it's okay to not want to be taken advantage of. By your partners, your friends, your family. You deserve happiness. Don't be afraid of going and finding it."
  • The song climbed to #1 on the Hot 100 dated January 12, 2019, becoming Halsey's first solo chart-topper on that tally. The singer had previously reached the summit as a featured artist on The Chainsmokers' 2016 hit tune "Closer."
  • Halsey released a "Without Me" remix featuring new production and a fresh verse by Juice WRLD. The Chicago rapper's heartbroken lyrics about the end of a relationship lengthens the song by 30 seconds. The new version was dropped on January 8, 2019, just a few days after the original reached #1 on the Hot 100.

    Halsey had previously shown her love for Juice WLRD when in November 2018 she delivered a minimal cover of his "Lucid Dreams (Forget Me)" on BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge. "When the events that inspired 'Without Me' went down, this artist helped me through it all," she tweeted. "Now that the song is #1 this only seemed fitting to release."
  • After breaking up with G-Eazy, Halsey felt huge pressure to comment publicly as she'd been previously been transparent about her life. Rather than going on a Twitter rant, she decided to explain what happened by means of a song.

    "The biggest lesson I learned was to make art, not headlines," Halsey told Glamour. "Because it can become quite easy, in the social media generation, to go from being a musician to becoming a personality."
  • The song was birthed during a studio session Halsey and Louis Bell had in May 2018 with songwriters Delacey (Zara Larsson's "Ruin My Life") and Amy Allen. It was the first session together for Delacey and Allen, who started gossiping about Delacey's ex-boyfriend. Delacey recalled to Billboard how their therapy session fed into their writing:

    "We were connecting on all these levels and when it came to the lyrics, every woman has been through what we're talking about. But we had never heard a song that really talks about the empowerment of going through a tough breakup."

    Delacey added that Halsey "poured her heart into it and made it personal to her lyrically, for sure."
  • Because "Without Me" was released as a standalone single rather than part of an album project, Halsey felt she could make the song about anything she wanted. The singer explained to Billboard she decided to base it on her then-recent breakup with G-Eazy.

    "I really made that song for me, and then when I saw how much it resonated with my fans, and it really went beyond my fans and people really connected with it... I think it's just a universal theme," she said.

    Halsey added that being honest about her naivety is likely one of the reasons "Without Me" worked so well.
    "There's a lot songs that are, 'I'm a bad b----, you don't know what you're missing out on,'" she said. "But I think there very few that speak from a point of vulnerability that says, 'You were taking advantage of me, and I would've kept letting you because I loved you so much.'"


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