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Meaning of the song ‘You should be sad’ by ‘Halsey’

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Released: 2020

“You should be sad” by Halsey is an indictment of a disappointing ex-lover, written with brutally raw emotion and relentless honesty. The song is a direct reflection on an ended toxic relationship, demonstrating Halsey’s scorn towards her ex’s lack of self-worth, substance, and his inability to love selflessly.

Halsey opens the track with an assertive declaration: “I wanna start this out and say / I gotta get it off my chest.” She’s prepping us for a bare-all emotional purge about her past relationship. The lyrics “Got no anger, got no malice / Just a little bit of regret” illustrate Halsey’s emotional maturity, where she asserts that there’s no bitterness, just the kind of raw regret that stems from wasted time and effort.

When Halsey sings “No, you’re not half the man you think that you are / And you can’t fill the hole inside you with money, drugs, and cars,” she’s calling out her ex’s superficiality and narcissism. She underscores his chase after fleeting pleasure and material gain as a futile attempt to fill the gaping void within him.

“I’m so glad I never had a baby with you /’Cause you can’t love nothing unless there’s something in it for you” is perhaps the most scathing line, illustrating the former partner’s self-serving love. Halsey points out that he was incapable of genuine, selfless love, voicing her relief about not having a more permanent bond with him.

The chorus, repetitive in its lyrical formation, vocalizes her pity and sadness. The lines “I feel so sorry, I feel so sad / I tried to help you, it just made you mad” depict Halsey’s failed attempts to salvage her lover from his destructive spiral, which was met with resistance and anger.

The bridge, marked by a disconcerting “Hey-ey-ey-ey” chant, signifies the eerie calm before the storm, as Halsey gears up to deliver the last blows of her critique. She ends the song with the final mantra-like repetition of “You should be sad” — a telling nod to the emotional justice her ex should feel in the wake of the harsh truths she has laid out.

Ultimately, “You should be sad” is a compellingly candid piece from Halsey, underscoring the importance of self-worth and the dangers of losing oneself for someone else’s love, a potent reminder that love should never be dependent on the sacrifice of one’s sense of self.

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