Halsey couldn’t have gotten any “More” personal on her newest LP just released this past Friday, Jan. 17. The indie-pop artist’s third studio album titled "Manic" is even more emotional and eclectic than its predecessors.
All 15 tracks on the album discuss topics such as love, sexuality, and interpersonal struggles, each displayed distinctively through the use of unique contradictions and wordplay. Listeners can hear elements from many different genres too - including pop, rock, country, indie/alternative and more - showing the variety Manic displays.
Prior to the project’s launch, 6 of the 16 tracks were already out, leaving fans with just 10 new songs to vibe to. However, the first single “Without Me,” was released all the way back in October of 2018, so there has been a stretch of time since then for her growing fan base to indulge each song leading up to the finale.
The first single, as well as the others “Graveyard,” “clementine,” “Finally // beautiful stranger,” and “You should be sad,” were all released alongside music videos, giving fans even more art to appreciate.
While at first I wasn’t too impressed with some of the singles - thinking they were a little boring and slow - once they were all out collectively, it showed how versatile and talented Halsey truly is, making me super excited to hear even more.
The track list greatly fed my expectations with its unique structure: some song names written in all caps, some in all lowercase and some normal, adding additional connection to the artist’s creative process and feelings through the making of “Manic." When the clock struck midnight on Friday Jan. 17, and I was able to listen to its entirety, I was not let down at all.
The LP’s first track is titled “Ashley,” the artist’s real first name. The lyrics and title alone set the tone for how intimate the entire project ends up being.
“Standing now in the mirror that I built myself / And I can’t remember why the decision wasn’t mine / But it seems I’m only clinging to an idea now / Took my heart and sold it out / To a vision that I wrote myself,” the song begins.
Halsey created a few collaborations too, which helped to bring in listeners of different age groups and places, as well as fans of different genres. The project features some well-loved artists on each of its three interludes including Dominic Fike, K-pop star SUGA alongside K-pop band BTS and famous 90’s pop-rock artist Alanis Morissette.
The first star appearance named “Dominic’s Interlude” flows super nicely into the following track, showing the importance of listening to albums in their given order.
“I HATE EVERYBODY" is a song about being confused about yourself and placing your internal feelings onto your relationships with others. This is probably one of my favorite songs on the album because of both its meaning and different sound. The best line that sums up the song lies in the bridge.
“If I could make you love me / Maybe you could make me love me / And if I can’t make you love me / Then I’ll just hate everybody,” Halsey belts.
Another one of my favorites on the album is the track right after titled “3 am.” The instruments and vocal use give the song a punk vibe that has previously worked great for some of the artist's best work. The song discusses the need to use outside distractions to forget about your own problems, which is something that many people - including myself - have had personal experience with.
While these songs were more upbeat and fun, on “Forever ... (is a long time)" and “More“ she slows down the tempo to set another different mood.
The second to last track “Still Learning" talks about how no one really knows the true her and she is still learning to love herself. She talks about how she seemingly “should be” happy because of her success, but she still faces hardship of her own.
I really appreciate Halsey’s bravery and willingness to write such raw and truthful lyrics, let alone share them with the world. She is showing millions of people that they aren’t alone in whatever struggles they may be facing. The emotion she conveys is really what I believe makes this album so amazing.
The last track ends the album on an even more personal note. The title “929” is Halsey’s birth date and what she thought to be her birth time as well, until later discovering otherwise.
“I really was born at 9:29 am on 9/29. You think I’m lying, but I’m being dead serious,” Halsey states in a voice recording at the beginning of the song.
“I think I have a confession to make, I feel like I need to say that I was really born at 9:26. It's on my birth certificate, I'm a liar. Man, I'm a f**king liar,” she later expresses.
Throughout the song, Halsey talks about an array of topics such as false media portrayal, disheartening truths of the industry and losing past partners to drugs. She tweeted that this song was made in just one recording - and it seems to share every little thing she needed to get out before she was finished.
Whether you were previously a fan of Halsey or not, this project is something that everyone needs to listen to. The album includes a mix of genres and styles that almost anyone can enjoy. While nothing can compare to her 2015 "BADLANDS" album, "Manic" is surely cutting it close and makes for a great start in music to the new year.
I would give this album 4.5 out of 5 Swoops.