Halsey teamed up with Fifth Harmony’s Lauren Jauregui for the haunting track, which is an ode to a fractured relationship. The women use female pronouns in the song, prompting critics to hail it as “revolutionary” and a “long overdue milestone,” given that both performers identify as bisexual in real life.
However, the critical response may have been a bit different if record executives had gotten their way. Halsey revealed to Vulture that her team had another female pop star in mind for the duet, which appears on “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom.” (Check out the lyric video for “Strangers” below.)
“The label was like, ‘What about Katy Perry?,’” the 22-year-old told Vulture’s Phoebe Reilly. “I was like, I’m not putting an artist on this song unless they’re fucking gay.” She added that she has very specific guidelines on how she’d like the music video to appear. ”[It’s] not going to be me and Lauren half-naked in a bed making out with each other, which is exactly what everybody fucking wants.”
Halsey crossed paths with Perry, 32, at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. in January. Though the two stars are reportedly friendly, Halsey appeared to take another swipe at Perry in a June 19 Paper magazine interview. Discussing the fact that many songs that referenced queer experiences were performed by straight female artists, the singer-songwriter quoted the lyrics to Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl,” and argued that the song promoted the idea of “bisexuality as a taboo.”
“That’s something I’ve had to fight my whole life and something I still fight,” Halsey, who also seemed to be calling out Demi Lovato’s “Cool For The Summer” in the interview, said. “There’s biphobia from the straight community and from the LGBT community. There’s a lack of acceptance.”
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