You Asked For This

Album: If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power (2021)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • In this grunge-pop anthem, Halsey (who goes by she/they pronouns) balances taking responsibility for their choices and confronting the high expectations society places on women. During the making of the album, the singer struggled with conflicting emotions about becoming a mother and what that meant for their identity as a woman.

    "I think being pregnant in the public eye is a really difficult thing, because as a performer, so much of your identity is predicated on being sexually desirable," she told Apple Music of her dilemma. "Socially, women have been reduced to two categories: You are the Madonna or the whore. So if you are sexually desirable or a sexual being, you're unfit for motherhood. But as soon as you are motherly or maternal and somebody does want you as the mother of their child, you're unf--kable. Those are your options; those things are not compatible, and they haven't been for centuries."
  • The track features Trent Reznor, who co-produced the album with his Nine Inch Nails bandmate Atticus Ross, engaging in a distorted-guitar battle with Dave Sitek of the indie-rock band TV On The Radio.
  • This is the second single from Halsey's fourth studio album, If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power, following "I Am Not A Woman, I'm A God."
  • Despite big changes in Halsey's life, some things stayed the same. The line, "You know I'm still somebody's daughter," is a callback to the singer's debut album, Badlands, where she sings on "New Americana":

    Young James Dean
    Some say he looks just like his father
    But he could never love somebody's daughter
  • Unlike with their previous albums, Halsey wasn't concerned with releasing radio-friendly pop hits and understood that going darker might make them unlikable to the masses. "I think that's the most important thing with this record, is that I've reached a point of maturity in my life where not everything I do is motivated by wanting to be likable," she explained in a Capitol Records interview. "Like I put this out and I thought, 'This might not be likable.' I mean, the name of the album is unlikable: If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power. I sound like a bitch, you know what I mean? But once you get to the end of the record, it's like the statement is insecure. It's like a tender sentiment underneath that."
  • The album also finds Halsey preparing for motherhood by purging their past. "It's almost like I'm emptying my vault of all these stories before I start over and it's like, 'OK, now I have to be responsible," she told Apple Music. This track is a great example of how she hashes out her emotions about her uncertain future through a tongue-in-cheek reference to a romantic escapade. "It's so, not satirical, but that second verse:

    Who the hell is in your bed?
    You better kiss goodnight and give some head
    And then next the morning comes instead
    Well is this the life that lies ahead?


    You know, none of that's a reflection of actually how I feel. My life is awesome, I love my partner. Our relationship is so full of love and passion and communication. I remember having that moment when I was probably five or six weeks pregnant and being like, so what happens now? Do I have to be boring? So many of the things that I self-identify with are not compatible with motherhood. That's when you realize that, oh, I'm hanging on to my trauma because it's part of how I define myself and I'm never really going to grow unless I let go of that trauma."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Damn Yankees

Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Damn YankeesSongwriter Interviews

Revisit the awesome glory of Night Ranger and Damn Yankees: cheesily-acted videos, catchy guitar licks, long hair, and lyrics that are just plain relatable.

Jonathan Edwards - "Sunshine"

Jonathan Edwards - "Sunshine"They're Playing My Song

"How much does it cost? I'll buy it?" Another songwriter told Jonathan to change these lyrics. Good thing he ignored this advice.

Macabre Mother Goose: The Dark Side of Children's Songs

Macabre Mother Goose: The Dark Side of Children's SongsSong Writing

"London Bridge," "Ring Around the Rosie" and "It's Raining, It's Pouring" are just a few examples of shockingly morbid children's songs.

Eagles Lyrics Quiz

Eagles Lyrics QuizMusic Quiz

Lots of life lessons in these Eagles lyrics - can you match them to the correct song?

Mike Scott of The Waterboys - "Fisherman's Blues"

Mike Scott of The Waterboys - "Fisherman's Blues"They're Playing My Song

Armed with a childhood spent devouring books, Mike Scott's heart was stolen by the punk rock scene of 1977. Not surprisingly, he would go on to become the most literate of rockers.

00s Music Quiz 1

00s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

Do you know the girl singer on Eminem's "Stan"? If so, this quiz is for you.