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Released: 2015

“Control” by Halsey is a poignant commentary on the artist’s internal struggle, encapsulating her fight against personal demons and mental health struggles. Through symbolic and evocative lyrics, Halsey describes feelings of alienation and self-loathing, while questioning who is truly in control. With this song, she paints an intimate picture of the terrifying aspects of battling one’s mind, in turn offering a raw and powerful confessional.

Opening with the lines, “They send me away to find them a fortune / A chest filled with diamonds and gold”, Halsey introduces, not a literal treasure hunt, but an exploration into the labyrinth of her mind. The “fortune” here could represent a desire for mental clarity or peace, signifying her pursuit to navigate past her psychological struggles.

As she sits alone “in bed ’til the morning”, her recurring words “They’re coming for me” suggest an overwhelming paranoia. This is not a physical threat, but instead refers to her anxiety and fears that creep in. The line “My mind’s like a deadly disease” expresses her feeling of being trapped in her thoughts, indicating an unending internal battle, commonly associated with conditions like clinical depression or anxiety disorders.

The powerful chorus, “I’m bigger than my body / I’m colder than this home / I’m meaner than my demons / I’m bigger than these bones” reinforces her struggle with self-perception and mental health. She feels isolated, cold with fear in her own home, contending fiercely against her internal demons. Yet, she asserts that she’s bigger, stronger and meaner, underscoring her resilience and determination for control.

“And all the kids cried out / ‘Please, stop, you’re scaring me’ / I can’t help this awful energy / Goddamn right, you should be scared of me / Who is in control?” Here, the ‘kids’ might symbolize parts of herself that are scared and vulnerable. The ‘awful energy’ is her negative mental state that frightens even herself, highlighting the chilling reality of mental health issues. The climactic question “Who is in control?” reveals her struggle for power over her own thoughts and actions.

The lines “I’m well acquainted / With villains that live in my bed…They beg me to write them / So they’ll never die when I’m dead” depict her relationship with her demons. By referring to her struggles as ‘villains’, she personalizes her issues, using songwriting as a means to understand and immortalize them. This therapeutic act becomes a means of control, a way to deal with her torment.

“Control” by Halsey is fraught with raw anguish, a poignant testament to the struggle of battling mental health issues. It’s a stark reminder of the battles many fight within themselves, and a call to recognize the valor of those who persist in seeking ‘control’ over their own minds. Filled with personality, resilience, and vulnerability, it’s a standout track in the realm of pop music that explores the discourse of mental health.

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