I have loved Halsey since the Room 93 era and here we are, six years later with Manic. She really pulled out all the stops on this album and after a first listen I was speechless. I couldn’t process what I even just heard, so here’s a little breakdown of Manic, out as of January 17, 2020 via Capitol Records.
“Ashley” is a song for Halsey herself – the fans, of course, know that’s her real name. In fact, Halsey is an anagram of Ashley. The verses are a tad monotone and quiet but then the chorus hits strong with lyrics “I’m bursting out of myself.” The third single released from the album, “Clementine” is a stunning ballad with just Halsey and her piano. Overall, the song is really soft and refreshing compared to some of the more upbeat tracks.
The first taste of Manic we got was “Graveyard.” It took some time to grow on me with how unique the track is, but now I bop to it all the time. Up to this point in the album, all the songs have a different vibe and doesn’t sound like you’re listening to the same thing over and over. “You Should Be Sad” had me telling all my friends “we’re two-stepping in the pit to it.” With its country vibe inspired by Carrie Underwood and Shania Twain, it screams female empowerment to the max.
“Forever … (is a long time)” is the first part of a trio of songs that tell a story ending with lyrics “talk to your man, tell him he’s got bad news coming,” ￼￼and leads right into the next track. Following the story we have “Dominic’s Interlude” featuring Dominic Fike, an American singer/rapper from Florida. Their voices fit so well together, and honestly I hadn’t heard of him until this song. The conclusion of the three-part story is “I HATE EVERYBODY,” one of my favorite songs off Manic. Judging by the title, I pictured it being much angrier than it actually is. The lyrics are something I can heavily relate to, and don’t even get me started on her vocals. Halsey’s voice is so unique and she always seems to surprise me with every song.
Halfway through the album now, we’ve reached my favorite song “3 AM,” and it’s a straight up bop. If Halsey has pits at her shows, the fattest one would open up to this song. It’s definitely one of the most upbeat tracks and is a nice break from the more mellow ones. I didn’t expect the next song, “Without Me,” to be on the album. Released mid-2019,￼ I figured it was just a single but it fits the overall vibe of Manic so well, I can see why it was included.
“Finally // beautiful stranger” is just stunning. Halsey’s vocals and the guitar melt beautifully together, flowing smoothly, describing the inability to trust instincts with love.￼ “Alanis’ Interlude” was one I thought I wouldn’t be into, but it’s so empowering. Halsey and Alanis Morissette are basically saying screw men, who needs them and their voices sound like they were meant to be in a song together. One of the more intriguing songs from the album, “killing boys” sounds like it could be in any classic teen movie. According to Halsey, it’s based around something she did (no one was actually killed, don’t worry) and proves even more why she’s my idol.
I can’t say “SUGA’s Interlude” is one of my favorites. K-pop isn’t really my thing, but the artistry behind it is worth the listen. “More” is the track that made me cry the most. With vocals that are so hauntingly beautiful, I couldn’t hold back the tears. “Still Learning” seems like it’s about the struggle to love yourself, which I know a lot of us can relate to, and it would honestly go off live. The album ends with “929,” which is actually Halsey’s birthday. The lyrics, “Don’t trust your heroes, they’re all fucking weirdos,” got me because honestly, it’s so true if you think about it, but not weird in a bad way.
Overall, Manic is a hit for me and the rest of the releases dropping this year will have some tough competition for Album of the Year. You can catch Halsey on the “Manic World Tour” this summer in the U.S. I will be at three dates myself, so if you love Manic as much as I do, this will be a can’t-miss tour.