Halsey’s third album, Manic, gives listeners an honest glimpse into the singer’s inner workings and most specifically, and as hinted by the title, her mental health. This album dances through a mix of genres, which parallels the raw and chaotic emotion we hear. Halsey has long been a relatable figure, given how openly she has discussed her bi-sexuality, manic depression/bipolar disorder, and biracial heritage – she continues to explore the first two in this album.
Her willingness to candidly write down and sing about the chaos of her life – trying to balance to a career with her relationships and still trying to stay true to herself – makes her even more relatable.
We learn a lot about the singer’s thoughts through these 16 tracks. Starting with her first track, “Ashley”, named after herself, we hear her reflect briefly on her career, which serves both as an introduction and a goodbye because she knows that one day when she dies, her songs will be her legacy. Continuing through the album, she includes samples from Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind and Jennifer’s Body along with interludes featuring Dominic Fike, Alanis Morissette, and BTS’ Suga. Her songs continue examining her mental health and relationships, and even delve into how the two affect each other with her No. 1 hit, “Without Me.”
Her second to the last song, “Still Learning”, is the hint of optimism that breaks through the rage and heartbreak. We hear Halsey’s self-reflection on her lack of self-esteem and self-love, but we also hear how she is learning to love herself. This carries into her final song, “929”, in which we hear her talk about herself, her fans, and her family and admit faults and flaws. But in the end, she accepts that she has a long way to go, but she is at least learning and growing. Halsey mentions that she wrote this album to work through the parts of her life that were hurting and to begin to accept and forgive herself, and it’s obvious to listeners that she has poured herself – all her anger, sadness, disappointment, regret, loneliness, and optimism – into this album.
I’ve gone my whole life struggling to accept this part of me and I made art out of it. I feel happy. Thank you.— h (@halsey) January 17, 2020
If you can catch one her shows on her tour starting in February, it is sure to be a captivating performance as an album this emotional promises plenty of significant and memorable moments.