I am going to be honest with you, readers. I love Halsey. I have loved her since she released “Badlands” back in 2015. Does that mean my article reviewing her new album “Manic,” released on Jan. 17, is going to be a little biased? I mean, yeah. However, I promise to try and do my best to remain objective!
To me this album felt like Halsey showing off the range of talents she has amassed in terms of both style and songwriting over the last five years of being a major star. Most of the songs on the album don’t seem to follow in one specific pattern or style, but really each song tells its own story, in its own way. Halsey always writes personal albums, but this one is definitely her most personal to date. It feels like a view inside her mind on things like her relationships, her rapid rise to stardom and her hopes for her future. When you finish listening to the album you feel like you have had a long conversation catching up with an old friend, not like you have listened to an album made for everyone.
The amount of emotions that can be felt through this album are amazing to me and as always, it is because of the truly great lyricial work that Halsey creates. One of the most impressive songs to me lyrically and musically is “Finally // beautiful stranger.” This song is slower and more romantic then the music usually made by Halsey, and that is what makes it so poignant on the album. It’s a slow guitar ballad without any of the technologically enhanced vocals that have come to define Halsey’s style. One of the lyrics goes, “I’ve never seen a mouth that I’d kill to kiss and I’m terrified but I can’t resist,” and this is just a small part of a lyrically perfect song, at least in my opinion.
I don’t really want to use this article to talk about the major radio hit singles that have already come from this album like “Graveyard” and “Without Me,” simply because I feel as though they have gotten enough press. Some of the other songs that really made this album for me are “Ashley,” titled after Halsey’s given name, “3 AM” and “929.” “Ashley” speaks to the amount of internal struggle that she seems to face when entering a new relationship and what worries her the most. Halsey allows every listener to view her insecurities in this song. “3 AM” is touching on older songs by the singer like “Alone” and “Roman Holiday.” If this song doesn’t make you want to sing/scream along and blast it in your car, then we have very different tastes in music and I feel sorry for you. It gives a real message of the isolation and loneliness that the artist feels comes along with her celebrity, similar to “I HATE EVERYONE,” also on the album. Even with this deep message, the song still manages to sound upbeat which is something that makes it even more powerful to me. “929” has a very interesting short style of music and beat, making it sound almost like a stream of consciousness then a thought out song. It also touches on the struggles of being famous, one of the major themes of the album, and it also talks about Halsey’s struggles with mental health and substance abuse. I love the unabashed honesty of all this music and it is one of the major reasons that I like the album.
Halsey also has some features on the album, however I wasn’t the biggest fan of most of them. All of the features are titled after the name of the artist featured on them with “interlude.” SUGA and BTS have a feature together, but to me it seems out of place along with the other songs on the album. This can also be said of the song with Alanis Morissette; it feels as though it was just thrown in there to have the feature rather than for the overall good of the album. The one interlude I really like was with Dominic Fike. The song is short but the tone and the lyrics fit in perfectly with the rest of the stories that Halsey is trying to tell on this album.
All in all, I loved this album. I truly think that no matter what type of music you listen to you can find something to enjoy within this album. So go, give it a try, and I hope you find the joy in it that I did!