Kelsea Ballerini and pop star Halsey discover a terrible truth in Ballerini’s newest single, realizing they’re getting played for a fool in “the other girl.”
Out now at country radio and part of Ballerini’s recent kelsea album, the other girl is a shimmering slice of futuristic country pop, with a sleek sonic sheen and story about two women finding out they’re both seeing the same guy. Rather than turning their anger on each other, though, they feel a natural sense of kinship — both betrayed by a shameless player. Highlighting a hypnotic groove and the electric interplay of two hit-making voices, Ballerini says she’s proud of the 180-degree change of direction from her last single, ‘homecoming queen,’ which was a vulnerable look into anxiety and self-doubt.
“I always like to zig zag with singles to show different sides of who I am as an artist, and ‘the other girl’ is the perfect next song to showcase this,” she says. “It’s a dark and angsty story song that is completely different than ‘homecoming queen,’ and really anything else I’ve gotten to share to date. Having Halsey, who is a massive country fan and close friend, as a part of it, adds a magic that I will be so excited to hear on my favorite radio stations.”
“Are you mad? Me too / And I wonder in his world / Is it me, is it you? / Who’s the other girl?” goes the chorus.
Ballerini and Halsey also teamed up to perform ‘the other girl’ live for CMT Crossroads in March, and “homecoming queen” earned a Gold certification from the RIAA.
Like many of us, it looks like Halsey has been using her social distancing at home to flex her creative muscles and have a little fun with her beauty and fashion; and her latest post reveals she may have been inspired by a viewing or two of Sailor Moon because she's gone full-on anime.
On April 21, Halsey posted a pic of herself in a Sailor Moon-esque getup, including a bubblegum pink wig, cropped sailor top, pleated skirt, and knee-high lace-up combat boots. From the wig to the boots, all pieces featured the same shade of bright, sweet pink. "Alex, I’ll take: 'Things I’m Doing' for 500," she captioned the post.
In the pic, Halsey looks almost exactly like the character Chibiusa, whose rose-colored hair and penchant for pink is one of her signatures and, well, we are totally obsessed.
Halsey nailed it, but we're not surprised! Changing up her look and playing with new hair colors is nothing new for Halsey. She's known to be a beauty chameleon and has rocked everything from a platinum crop to a Cher costume last Halloween. Remember when she wore sequined boots as pants? The Chibiusa homage is yet another example of how much fun Halsey has with fashion and makeup.
The “Without Me” singer chose an outfit that echoes the signature look of “Sailor Moon,” a Japanese anime series based on the namesake ’90s graphic novel. Halsey channeled the series’ lead character’s take on a schoolgirl uniform with a white crop top, red necktie and green pleated skirt.
She topped the outfit off with a set of thigh-high white stockings. The songstress captioned the post with a lyric from her song “Alanis’ Interlude” featuring singer Alanis Morissette, saying: “Bad news, think I’ll prolly die before I have you.”
Halsey’s anime-inspired ensemble follows another manga-style look that the 25-year-old modeled on April 21. The outfit consisted of a pink and white wig that matched a crop top, a pleated mini skirt with striped accents at the hem and a pair of knee-length, lace-up pink boots with a lifted lug sole.
Beyond standout styles on red carpets, stages and social media, Halsey dipped her toes into the beauty world when she signed on as YSL Beauté ambassador in 2018; she also starred in DKNY’s fall ’19 and spring ’20 campaigns.
The storyline of “the other girl” is not exactly what that guy is craving. The action in the song is a meeting of the minds between two women, portrayed sonically by Kelsea Ballerini and pop artist Halsey, who have come to the realization that they’re being played by a callous but skillful lover.
It’s a dark, difficult subject, handled with realistic intrigue in the lyrics, but imbued with plenty of catchy moments, particularly a bouncy postchorus that lingers in the listener’s mind for hours after hearing it. “It’s definitely the hookiest part of the song,” says Ballerini.
It’s also a tune that pulls together some fairly rare occurrences, beginning with the configuration. “I love the idea of a female collaboration,” says Ballerini. “You don’t see it so much.”
You also don’t see two women who are vying for the same man show sympathy for each other too often in the genre. Usually, in titles such as Loretta Lynn’s “Fist City” or Barbara Mandrell’s “Woman to Woman,” a wife threatens her husband’s lover when they meet. But there are instances, including Carrie Underwood’s “Two Black Cadillacs” or the Reba McEntire-Linda Davis duet “Does He Love You,” where the women commiserate or even plot their revenge.
“Does He Love You” and a competitive ’90s R&B duet, Brandy & Monica’s “The Boy Is Mine,” provided the primary references when Ballerini penned “the other girl” with Shane McAnally (“Hard To Forget,” “Nobody but You”) and Ross Copperman (“Catch,” “What She Wants Tonight”) on Aug. 11, 2018. Ballerini brought them along to write during a run of dates on Keith Urban’s Graffiti U tour, and Copperman played its foundational track when the trip started. Ballerini appreciated the dangerous sound he had concocted, but didn’t think it fit her.
“I can go the sassy route, but I don’t really go the dark, angsty route,” she says. “I liked it and I flagged it, but I was like, ‘I can’t start here.’”
“I’ve never had a collaboration on an album before,” says Ballerini. “I only wanted one if it was someone that I was real-life friends with, because you end up spending so much time with them, with the music video and the performances and the press and all that. I was like, ‘I just want to do it with someone that I enjoy spending time with.'”