Any good album will have a constant theme that is seamlessly woven throughout every track. Coherent and fluid. Halsey’s new album Manic does just that. Manic is a refreshing, outstandingly executed album that demonstrates many different shades of Halsey while contributing to an overall theme of self-discovery, exploration, and revelation.
“Ashley” opens the album as she tells us about who she really is outside of Halsey. The song concludes with a clip from the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: “Too many guys think I’m a concept, or I complete them, or I’m gonna make them alive. I’m just a fucked-up girl who’s lookin’ for my own peace of mind.” This gives listeners a que into what is to come from the album – a self-exploration project revealing her true feelings on personal and intimate topics.
Another glorious song from the album is “Graveyard,” which is about being loyal to the death to someone. “I woulda followed all the way, no matter how far, I know when you go down all your darkest roads, I woulda followed all the way to the graveyard.” Halsey reveals that she makes her own choices despite realizing they are mistakes, something that many of us can relatable.
“3am” gives a necessary sense of energy to the album displaying more of her insecurities and the anger that she can’t help to feel in her indulgent states. The chorus line “I need it digital cause when it’s physical I end up alone” speaks to a millennial audience. The song is demonstrating Halsey’s acknowledgement on her journey that she does have toxic traits and habits. It comes to a conclusion with a voicemail of John Mayer congratulating her on her “best song” which follows next on the album, “Without Me.”
Tells off her ex-boyfriend G-Eazy in “You Should Be So Sad” and in the chart-topper song “Without Me.” The latter tune was the first released from the album. Halsey has admitted that this is her most vulnerable and revealing song from the album, even saying on twitter that she “cried the whole time [she] recorded it. But now [she] feel[s] proud. And empowered.”
Another honest and raw tune,“929,” shares the story of Halsey’s life and upbringing. She says, “I really was born at 9:29 am on 9/29, you think I’m lying but I’m dead serious,” but reveals at the end that she was actually born at 9:26, calling herself a liar. “929” along with “Still Learning” display a great sense of dissatisfaction with herself and how she lives, despite achieving so much fame and success for her talents.
The album features three interludes with contributing artists Alanis Morrisette, Domink Fike, SUGA, and BTS. The “Alanis Interlude” contributes to the sense of empowerment that Halsey is seeking for herself throughout the album. Similarly, Morissette is another figure who speaks out for acceptance and strength in women through her music.
“More” is a more somber, confessional track that describes Halsey’s experience living with endometriosis and not being able to have children. This tune appropriately accompanies a lullaby background as she sings “they told me it’s useless, there’s no hope in store, but somehow I just want you more.” She does an excellent job at conveying true emotion and desperation in this song. Nevertheless, it is catchy and enjoyable to listen to.
The vulnerability that Halsey displays throughout this album is admirable and is what has made Manic so positively received. A journey for herself and the listener.