Alternative pop superstar Halsey dropped her latest album “Manic” on Jan. 17. Known for her raw and honest lyrics, Halsey continues this trend throughout this album. While in the past I’ve felt Halsey maintained a consistent style, this album is a beautiful blend of various sounds and genres; a refreshing and successful change from one of my favorite artists.
The track “Ashley” breaks open this album with ambient, electronic noise, giving the feeling that you’re eased into Halsey’s mind. This song reminds me of Halsey’s classic sound of a slow synth build up into powerful, impassioned vocals. These raw and honest vocals mirror the lyrics in the song, with lines such as, “I told you I'd spill my guts, I left you to clean it up.”
Halsey allows the listener to have a glimpse into her mind and her emotions. The title of the song also nods to Halsey’s own first name, Ashley, helping bring out the honesty of this song and album.
Another song on this album that stands out to me is “3am,” because of its heavier rock style, blended with quick, rhyming style in the verses, similar to artists such as Twenty One Pilots. Backed with syncopated electric guitar and gritty rock vocals, this is a fresh new sound from Halsey. Honest, self-reflective lyrics are presented in this song, “Know that my identity's always getting the best of me / I'm the worst of my enemies / And I don't really know what to do with me.” Halsey expresses the struggle of feeling lost and absent, introducing a dark side even to being a celebrity, a theme which continues to surface throughout the album.
“Finally // beautiful stranger” is another unique track on this album in terms of Halsey’s past musical styles. Focusing on acoustic guitar and soft vocals in the verse, this raw, stripped song is a refreshing change from Halsey. I like that the acoustic guitar backs the vocals, but the build to her passionate, belting vocals during the chorus is maintained. Lines such as, “You stopped me in my tracks and put me right in my place / Used to think that loving meant a painful chase / But you're right here now and I think you'll stay” feel like a glimpse into a journal entry.
The closing track “929” is one of my favorite songs on the album. Its confessional, simple style and sound are a perfect way to wrap up this album. This song definitely highlights the dark side of being a celebrity. My favorite lines are, “And I've stared at the sky in Milwaukee / And hoped that my father would finally call me / And it's just these things that I'm thinkin' for hours / And I'm pickin' my hair out in clumps in the shower.” These lyrics aren’t pretty or catchy. They’re dark and honest, which is what I love about this album. Halsey isn’t afraid to show the true sides of herself, presenting issues that could speak volumes to fans who may also be struggling.
The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch.