Review: Halsey


Manic” is the third studio album by American singer and songwriter Ashley Frangipane, professionally known as Halsey. With the help of Capitol Records, Halsey released the album following her highly successful album “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom” in 2017 and her first official album “Badlands” in 2015. 

The second track on the album “clementine” is a soft smooth melody with a deep self-perception within the lyrics. In the track that was released nearly five months prior to the album’s release, “clementine” is a very slow and mellow tune that includes the delicate sounds of piano keys that eventually escalate throughout the song, while still managing to remain soothing. In this musical memoir, Halsey describes the odd and unique world within her mind as a place where she’s “constantly, constantly havin’ a breakthrough, or a breakdown, or a blackout.” This references the character “Clementine” from the 2004 film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless,” played by Kate Winslet. Halsey described the character in a Rolling Stone interview as “proud and liberated in her own weirdness, and in her own non-polite, non-political, non-conformative, inconvenient self.” 

Jumping into the tenth song of the album, Halsey continues with the theme of a soft melody. But instead of the piano listeners had in “clementine”, Halsey’s mellow vocals are accompanied by the strum of guitar strings in “Finally // beautiful stranger.” Aside from the instrumentals, “Finally // beautiful stranger” differs from “clementine” in the aspect that the message it conveys isn’t a love ballad about oneself, but an actual love ballad about Halsey’s partner at the time, English singer and songwriter, YUNGBLUD. This song not only gives listeners a view into Halsey’s heart but also something they can relate to in her references to being hurt before in past relationships; “I know that beautiful strangers only come along to do me wrong.” But as the love in her relationship and the song continues, Halsey ends the song with her defenses falling and her finally accepting that this “beautiful stranger” won’t do her wrong like the others and that “it’s finally, finally, finally, finally, finally safe for me to fall.” 

In the third song of the album, “Graveyard” gives listeners a break from the slow tunes “clementine” and “Finally // beautiful stranger” gave listeners. It starts with the strums of guitar that makes listeners believe that this song will be happy and upbeat, but if we take a closer look into the lyrics, listeners can find the true meaning behind the words. Halsey uses this misconception of the song as rhetoric relating to the meaning of the song that describes a relationship in which a partner with struggles continues to drag down the other partner that is attempting to help them “down on your darkest roads.” But despite that people “say I may be making a mistake,” Halsey just seems to “keep digging myself down deeper,” until she too finds herself in that bad place with them, in the “Graveyard.” She leaves the song with a powerful message in the bridge where she states, “it’s funny how, the warning signs can feel like they’re butterflies.” 

And finally, a personal favorite and the first single released off the album as well as the most successful song, “Without Me” is a beautiful and empowering break-up song, written following Halsey’s split with long-time partner, G-Easy. This easy-flowing and vocal masterpiece talks about Halsey’s overwhelming emotions before, after, and during the course of the relationship. Throughout the ballad, Halsey directly sings to G-Eazy asking him to tell her “how’s it feel sittin’ up there? Feelin’ so high, but too far away to hold me. You know I’m the one who put you up there. Name in the sky, does it ever get lonely?” This alludes to the widely popular and successful collaboration between the pair back in 2017 “Him & I,” which celebrated the couple’s romance and gave G-Eazy attention from more mainstream pop listeners. But, despite the success, he seemed to forget her, even going as far as cheating on her a multitude of times, as referenced in the lyric, “I was afraid to leave you on your own,” where Halsey talks about her lack of trust in him near the end of their relationship. The song overall acts as Halsey cutting all ties from her past relationship and asking him as she leaves it all behind how it feels “thinkin’ you could live without me.” 

The entirety of “Manic” is like an open nerve for Halsey as she pulls back her flesh and keeps it real with her fans by giving them a raw and very emotional look into her head and into her heart. It goes to show that as Halsey’s career in music and art continues, she never seems to fail in giving her listeners something to relate with her through her laughs, love, and tears. People can now stream “Manic” on Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, or any other streaming service. 


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