The pop singer’s third studio album incorporates a wide range of emotions and stories.
No matter how you feel or what you are going through, I promise that Halsey can put your own unique sentiments into words through her newest album “Manic,” an introduction to the full emotional spectrum.
Her third studio album following “Badlands” and ”Hopeless Fountain Kingdom,” “Manic” is unlike anything Halsey has ever tackled before. Usually shrouded behind a story, hidden within the aura of her stage name, Halsey describes themes through her music, like mental health in “Badlands” and true love in “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom.” These albums, though, are never truly her. “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom” mimicked a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet, and “Badlands” had the aesthetic of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. “Manic,” though, is completely and unapologetically the story of Halsey and how she came to be. It is the story of everything that can happen while existing in the human condition.
The album is meant to be listened to in order, the timing and placement of each song flowing from emotion to emotion. It morphs from a longing to connect to someone to the blissfulness of falling in love before receding to the anger that comes from being cheated on until it finally closes by coming full circle, recognizing the acceptance of love that you deserve.
This is a love album, it truly is, but not in the traditional sense. These aren’t romantic songs for an intimate partner, but anthems to let you know that you will find love. Above all, there is nothing more important than recognizing that you deserve love, and loving yourself.
The album opens with what she calls “the most Halsey song on the album,” a strong ballad called “Ashley” which warns that this album will not be like her past albums. “I told you I’d spill my guts / I left you to clean it up,” Halsey belts in the chorus, alluding back to a tweet she posted prior to the release of “Manic.” She was going to share her deepest secrets through this anthology, and so she did.
“Clementine” takes on a childish tone that immediately separates this album from the ones that Halsey said she wrote during periods of depression. She has brought up in multiple interviews that the album name for “Manic” came from how this was the first album that she wrote in a manic state of mind, and manic it is. She bounces around all different genres, from rap to country and everything in between.
“Graveyard” was a single that Halsey released earlier this year, which was linked to another theme she touched upon with this album. “Manic” is the first album to come out since Halsey has regularly played on the radio. In an interview with Apple Music, Halsey remarked how after “Badlands,” she was meant to disappear into the wallpaper of alternative pop, according to many experienced people in the music industry. It was an album similar to ones that had done that in the past, and Halsey would mirror them, they all assumed. Instead she fought to make her name known, and “Manic” is full of chart-topping hits, also including “Without Me” which topped the charts for over ten months. For Halsey fans everywhere, that was one of the most incredible moments of her career.
“You Should Be Sad” is personally my favorite song, a country riff that channels music icons like Shania Twain and Christina Aguilera. This is an absolute banger that conjures strong feelings in the listener of strength and independence. Like most of the songs on the album, it is powerful and energizing, specifically through the lyrics that allude to how things can get better even when it seems like you are stuck.
It is around this point that the album begins to shift from upbeat songs to more emotional lyrics that both warm the heart and shatter it. These are the songs that Halsey did not release as single, ones that she kept to herself until the much anticipated album drop.
One of these songs, the one that many fans have said nearly brought them to tears is “More,” the poem that Halsey wrote to “someone that doesn’t exist yet,” as she likes to say, “but will hopefully exist one day.” That is the beautiful thing about this album; the listener does not have to go through what Halsey did to understand every single emotion that she felt when she cried “and when you decide it’s your time to arrive / I’ve loved you for all of my life.”
An even more personal song, the one that she calls her “most uncensored song of all time” is a stream of consciousness known as “929.” Born Sept. 29, this is Halsey’s autobiography, a breathless, relatable confession to catch us up on her last few years of fame. “I’ve got a long way to go until self preservation / think my moral compass is on a vacation” Halsey belts, knowing that she is still learning, that she is still looking for that best version of herself. “I know that I love you but I’m still learning / to love myself, / I’m still learning to love myself,” she sings in “Still Learning.” That is the drive of “Manic”: knowing that you can always be better and that your best self is out there to be found.
The music industry needed an album like “Manic,” an album that was unafraid to break away from the traditional mold of how a collection of songs should be. It is messy in the best sense of the word, only so from how it skips all over from sad songs to joyous ballads, from technical beats to live instrumentals, a soft version of her voice or a mixture with electrical tones. It encompasses everything that Halsey and music have to offer a listener, something to help people know what it is like to be famous, to be in love, to accomplish the best things and grow from the worst things.
“Badlands” was the story of being an outcast while “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom” was the beginning of belonging to a group, but never feeling like you were truly accepted. “Manic” is the acceptance of self-worth and discovery from those journeys. They are a progression of Halsey’s maturity and growth not only as an artist, but as an adult. She is no longer a nineteen-year-old girl, but a twenty-five-year-old woman ready to take on the world with fans that have been with her every step of the way, never failing to cheer her on.
Tickets for the Manic World Tour are officially on sale. Go on out and see how it feels, take part in the “Manic” experience.