How long has it been since you read Romeo and Juliet? Not since high school? Try to remember as many details as you can and buckle up, because Halsey‘s new video for “Now or Never” isn’t going to make any sense otherwise.
“Now or Never” is the first single from the melodramatic teen-pop phenom’s upcoming sophomore album hopeless fountain kingdom, a title that also doesn’t make sense. Shot on location in Mexico City and filmed in cinematic widescreen, it’s Halsey’s directorial debut (with Sing J. Lee). The whole thing is packed with visual references to Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, but after that, it’s hard to parse. Who is the woman Halsey is yelling at, drowning out the music in her own music video? Why is the tarot reader wearing a plague doctor mask? Why does everyone pull guns on each other and then just sit there? At any given point, what’s even happening?
The whole thing—six minutes to a three-and-a-half-minute song—ends with Halsey speeding away on a motorcycle to give herself a haircut. The downside to this video is that it feels like the extended trailer for an action movie from which most of the expository scenes were cut. The upside is that it’s extremely stylish and expensive-looking, which almost makes up for the acting. hopeless fountain kingdom, coming June 2!