Album Review: Halsey – “Manic”

Halsey has been steadily drip-feeding her latest album, Manic to a hungry audience since late 2018 with the worldwide success of, “Without Me.” Several sundry singles and a cacophony of remixes later, Halsey’s latest album bounces through dark pop, takes a detour through country and rock, and is interlaced with several very intimate songs composed with a single instrument accompanying her voice. Manic is a very personal album showcasing a longing and resilient soul through a wide spectrum of musical styles. Halsey has the spotlight, and with it, she delivers a close exploration of a modern badass lady.

Halsey - You should be sad

Halsey rose to prominence with a “dystopian fantasy world” aesthetic through her debut Badlands and the sequel hopeless fountain kingdom. The dark twist central to her originality continues on in her third album with the added breathing room to delve into different shades of her personality. “More” takes the deepest dive with a rewarding payoff. While unique to Halsey’s life, anyone can identify with the conflicting emotions that accompany betrayal she lays bare. A touch of electronic adds her trademark-haunted resonance through every song, but very often she takes a step back from the massive production behind her to simply sing. There are plenty of dance-ready songs such as “3 am”, “You Should Be Sad”, and “Graveyard”, to pump up the album experience, but Manic tends to lean away from adding additional background noise in favor of letting her voice soar on its own.

Usually when an artist collaborates on another’s album, they get their name featured in light gray text, but Halsey opted for naming each co-artist personally in the song titles for the three incredible and varying duets she worked with. Anyone interested in the K-pop phenomenon, but not sure where to begin, can start with “SUGA’s Interlude” from the iconic BTS. “Alanis’ [Morissette] Interlude” is an anthem to blast on repeat while “Dominic’s [Fike] Interlude” is short and sweet and ends too soon. Each accompanying artist brings something different and are addicting to listen too.

Halsey has momentum behind her and the resources to make consistently popular music. She achieves that obligation through several hits and gives herself the space to explore stories unique to her for the majority of the album. It is pop and sentimental, a cohesively varied ride that gives listeners plenty of singles to pluck out based on their own slice of creative madness.


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