New Years Day, ‘Half Black Heart’ | Track By Track

New Years Day vocalist Ash Costello guides us through their fifth studio album ‘Half Black Heart’, set for release on March 01.

Photo: Matt Akana


“Once the entire album was written and recorded, we instantly knew ‘Vampyre’ was the perfect fit for the opening track. The riff is so instantly catchy and heavy in a way that hooks you. It’s probably one of the heaviest riffs NYD has ever recorded, thanks to Jeremy Valentyne and Brandon Wolfe. It felt like the first time we nailed that classic New Years Day vibe, like ‘kill or be killed,’ but evolved and matured to 2023. ‘Vampyre’ serves as a message to certain individuals or a group in your life whose sole purpose is to cause you pain and harm. It reflects their desire to suck the happiness and joy out of your life, similar to how a vampire wants to drain your blood and vitality. The overarching message is clear: ‘I’m aware you’re out to get me and bring me down, but I won’t let myself become your prey.'”

Half Black Heart 

“‘Half Black Heart’ began with the title itself. I had this idea of having a track that doubles as the album title. The concept behind it is pretty straightforward – nobody is entirely one thing. We’re all a mix of good and bad, innocence and guilt, a bit angelic and a bit devilish. I don’t believe anyone can be a flawless human being, and this song is me addressing those who might expect perfection from me. It’s basically saying, ‘I’ll never be perfect, and neither will you.”

Hurts Like Hell 

“‘Hurts Like Hell’ wasn’t the first track we wrote for the album, but it was an obvious choice for the initial single release. We didn’t have most of the album even written yet when we decided to go ahead and release it with a music video and thats because It’s just a downright fun song — and we felt thats what we needed and what our fans needed. We opted for this track as the lead because, at the time, we were emerging from the throes of COVID, and we didn’t want to hit fans with something too emotionally heavy. We aimed for an upbeat vibe. The song’s message revolves around a chaotic, toxic relationship that you can’t help but enjoy because of its unpredictability, giving you that alive feeling. It came together pretty swiftly, a collaborative effort involving a small village, including Diamante, Taylor Correl from Lit, and Arejay from Halestorm.”


“This is where the album takes a turn into an emotional and personal territory. ‘Secrets’ was a tough one for me to write. I had to open up about a situation I wasn’t quite ready to confront honestly. It required getting vulnerable and facing the truth about what I was going through, but most importantly, being honest with myself. I couldn’t ignore the fact that I was carrying the weight of what felt like a multitude of secrets— and not even my own. ‘Secrets’ delves into the feeling you get when you sense that someone you love is keeping things from you. You can’t see it, but you feel it. That particular line hits me hard every time I hear it. Above all, I hope this song resonates with anyone who needs to hear it and makes them realize they’re not alone in feeling this way. The song underwent numerous changes, and a significant amount of effort went into crafting the lyrics. I’m immensely proud of how it turned out.”


“Damn I love this song. When we initially started casually writing for the record, COVID was still very much a part of our lives. We had to wear masks and record vocals through a partition. I honestly didn’t know what the future held for me. All I knew was that I had to be fearless. Fearlessness has been a recurring theme for me for many years, maybe even decades. To be in the position I am in, especially as a woman in the music industry with a significant presence on social media, I’ve had to weather a lot of hits and live under constant pressure and scrutiny. It takes a considerable amount of fearlessness, or maybe a touch of insanity, to keep pushing forward. I co-wrote this track with Scott Stevens, who has a knack for drawing out exactly how I’m feeling and translating it onto a track. The song boldly declares that I will remain fearless, even when the odds are stacked against me.”


“‘Bulletproof’ is hands down my favorite song on the album. I’m particularly proud of the vocal performance in the intro – I recorded it sitting down while holding the mic, with the volume turned up as loud as I could handle it so I could sing as softly as I could. This track has this epic vibe, almost like a scene from a Michael Bay movie. What makes it even more special is that its about a very personal topic for me. It’s about someone who genuinely believes they’re untouchable, like the devil. However, the underlying message is that even the devil isn’t truly untouchable, no one is bulletproof and the might always fall eventually.”

Burn It All Down 

“‘Burn It All Down’ is essentially my homage to Harley Quinn. We set out to write a song that embodies her distinct personality – the wild, unpredictable, and rebellious spirit that defines Harley. She truly desires to “burn it all down”….This tracks sound deviates from the rest of the album, intentionally mirroring the offbeat and unapologetic nature of Harley Quinn herself, making it a standout piece with a vibe as distinctive as the character it’s inspired by.”


“‘Enemy’ is about the moment you realize you’re waking up one day next to someone you’ve shared your life with for years, only to discover that they’ve become a stranger—and not just a stranger but an adversary even. This person not only lacks genuine connection but actively works against your well-being, offering no support. You decide you need to break free from a toxic situation and reclaim control over your life. This one took forever to finish compared to the rest of the songs on the album. Mainly because it took awhile to get the lyrics to say exactly how I was feeling.”

I Still Believe 

“‘I Still Believe’ was one of those amazing tracks that just fell into place quickly, unlike some songs off the album that took a year or more to shape up. It’s the first one for this album, written way back in 2021. I was in the studio with Scott Stevens, and we started chatting, as we usually do. I was sharing how, despite the tough years leading up to it, I still believed in myself. Even with that little voice telling me to throw in the towel, I held onto that belief. The words came together fast, and we laid down the entire song in just two days, although it did evolve over the course of two years.”

Unbreak My Heart 

“Some songs kick off with a title, and this one was born from just that. The title idea struck me because, at the time of writing, I’d been through a lot of heartache. I thought, wouldn’t it be amazing if I could turn back the clock and unbreak my heart, make it whole again before it had been broken over and over? This was the 11th-hour track, one of the last songs for the album, possibly even the very last—I’m not entirely sure. I’m particularly proud of the lyrics for this one; I agonized over the words for weeks. It had to be perfect because it meant so much to me. I wrote this track on the spot with Mitch Marlow, Blaire Daily, and Scott Stevens.”

So Sick 

“‘So Sick’ is all about being completely addicted to someone. With the rest of the record carrying such a heavy emotional weight, I wanted to explore something more positive, the feeling of being so deeply in love, that the person becomes like a drug to you.”

Creature Of Habit 

“This track was a blast to create because it’s such a departure from our usual sound. It’s a fun way to wrap up the album!”

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