Just hours before the release of her third album, Halsey tweeted “where do you go when I don’t need you anymore?” Teasing lyrics to her song ‘Killing Boys’ and setting the tone for Manic; a brutally honest and raw work of art.
Halsey Shows Us She’s More Than a Pop Star
When the album dropped, I put it on and shut off my phone, listening to the album front to back with full focus. It was an ethereal experience, such an experience that I could not listen just once. Refusing to stick just one genre, Halsey shows us she can do it all. From the country break up anthem ‘You Should Be Sad’ to ‘Still Learning’, a groovy pop track about learning to love yourself despite the obstacles, she shows us just how transparent she can be.
Halsey has always been known as someone who tells a story through her albums. Hopeless Fountain Kingdom told a tragic love story Romeo and Juliet style. While Badlands covered the story of who Halsey is. This is the first album we get to hear from Ashley Frangipane, a Jersey girl that Halsey has had trouble accepting as a part of herself. You first are introduced to Ashley in the opening track perfectly titled ‘Ashley’. She tells the story of how she has created this idea of herself, and she finds the standards she created hard to live up to. She doesn’t want to be just Halsey anymore — while also struggling, not wanting to let everyone down. After all, who would we have if we did not have her?
Dealing with the Pressure of Being Everything to Everyone
The dreamy music in the background with very intense vocals convey that while she’s living the dream, she isn’t necessarily happy. The track ends with a clip from the film Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind. You hear the main character Clementine say “I’m just a fucked-up girl who’s lookin’ for my own peace of mind, don’t assign me yours,” which I feel is more a jab at society rather than her past lovers. People tend to put so much pressure on artists to complete them or help give them a reason to be better. Halsey is showing she wants to put herself first for a change.
“Hi I’m Ashley, Nice to Meet You”
With the singles Halsey released in 2018 we knew Manic would be a powerful album, but I don’t think anyone was prepared for what she was going to say. Each song portrays a different part of her mind: some dark, some angry, but overall, she shows that she has come to terms with who she really is. You can really feel her open up in the final track ‘929’, a pop ballad about Halsey’s inner thoughts that will make you want to hug her through the speakers.
On Spotify’s storyline feature Halsey says “This one was almost like a freestyle in the booth. I barely wrote anything down. I just started spilling all of my thoughts about myself and my fans and my family, and I admit so many faults and flaws all in one go. It’s forgiving; however, it ends with the acknowledgement that I am learning and growing, minute by minute.” This track shows that she is tired of living behind Halsey, Ashley wants to be seen. With ‘929’ as the closing track, it ties together the idea that Halsey or Ashley — she is human and not perfect, which is just fine.
Manic is a Beautiful Chaotic Story
Halsey paints a portrait of herself with Manic. Between getting angry and dreaming of keying her ex boyfriends Ferrari in ‘Killing Boys’, breaking down her walls and falling in love in ‘Finally//Beautiful Stranger’; Halsey shows us that she is not going to live her life for anyone but herself. This is her story, and nobody can take that from her. Manic pushes the idea that we are all human and you don’t need to force yourself to fit into someone else’s mold. This is truly an album that everyone can find some peace in, and I hope we all do.
What did you think of ‘Manic’? What track stood out to you? Let us know in the comments below or on our socials @TheHoneyPop !
Live through Manic the album live on Halsey’s Europe tour! Check it out!
Featured image source: Album artwork by Aidan Cullen as posted by Halsey on Twitter