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Album Review: Manic by Halsey

Since we are all stuck inside, I thought I might do an album review. This is an album I’ve had on constant rotation on Spotify for months.

Check it out, I promise you won’t be disappointed

Halsey’s third album Manic, released in January 2020, is reflective, honest and incredibly brave.

The “Without Me” singer has said she wrote the album during a manic episode. For Halsey, her manic episodes can be creative and productive.

With this album, the singer intends to challenge stereotypes around bipolar disorder. The album is also intended to show who she is outside of the Halsey construction.

Tracks like Ashley and Still Learning, carry themes honesty and taking responsibility.

“Climb up to the window and I’m breaking the glass. Then I stop ‘cause I don’t wanna to Uma Thurman your ass no more, no more, anymore”

-Killing Boys, Halsey

Image credit: Manic, cover art, Halsey, label: Capitol

Halsey’s real name is Ashley Nicolette Frangipane.

The exhausted words of “Ashley” compared to the hopefulness of “Still Learning” document the process of growing up and healing.

In an interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music in January, Halsey talks about the ups and burnouts of her career. 

“Sometimes I’m on top of the world and other days I think if I keep doing this I’m going to die”

Killing Boys is fast-paced, angry, and reminiscent of Badlands, Halsey’s first album. But doesn’t deviate from the theme of growing throughout the rest of the album.

The song is upbeat and has arguably one of the best lines written in any song.

“Climb up to the window and I’m breaking the glass. Then I stop ‘cause I don’t wanna to Uma Thurman your ass no more, no more, anymore”

“I Hate Everybody” is about projecting a shield to protect oneself from getting hurt.

But at the same time, the lyrics suggest that what the artist wants is to connect with someone.

“More” and “Clementine” have a lullaby quality to them.

“More” is about Halsey’s experience miscarriage and her wish to have a child.

Her vulnerability is brave in a society that dismisses or even stigmatises miscarriage. 

One thing that strikes me about manic is that this is an artist who doesn’t have much left in her.

In the same Zane Lowe interview, that process saying,

“Taking responsibility is a painful experiment”

“Manic” isn’t devoid of the sadness or aggression of Badlands or “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom.” But there is a certain positivity in the music, nobody is one thing, they can grow and change.

The album feels like Halsey is entering a new phase of her life and letting her fans know they can too.

Here’s the thing with a lot of pop, it’s still stuck in the 90s.

The empowered “Girl Power” troupe was too constructed and unrealistic.

Manic is about struggling but still putting oneself out there and be true to themselves. it’s about the precarity of recovery.

Halsey writes through the lens of fame, which may seem too out there for most people. But everybody can relate to loss, heartbreak, connection and hope.

What do you think of the album?

Do you like album review? would you like to see more?

As usual, let me know in the comments.

Featured image: Photo by Alphacolor on Unsplash

3 thoughts on “Album Review: Manic by Halsey”

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