Heartbreakingly Beautiful and Honest: "Manic" by Halsey Review

The singer-songwriter Ashley Frangipane, better known by her stage name Halsey, has finally released her highly anticipated third studio album titled "Manic," and that name is the best descriptor for this album as a whole. At times it seemed incredibly polarizing but the songs were carried by Halsey’s unique, raspy tone and powerful vocals, not to mention the lyrical content of those tracks were very honest. In other words, Halsey spilled some tea and was not afraid to hide it. This is the type of album that must be listened to more than once to really digest every track because it is just so jarring and moving from song to song since they are all so different from each other, resulting in a feeling of mania.

The first track, "Ashley," is reminiscent of "Reputation" by Taylor Swift in that Halsey feels torn between the persona she has created in Halsey and who she is as Ashley. It really reminded me of Taylor Swift talking about this version of herself that was cultivated by the media, someone who wasn’t really her, though that differs from Halsey who created this image of herself. Being split between two different versions of yourself is something that they both have in common.

"Clementine" is very much a simple, slower track, and it honestly was one of my least favorite on the album as a whole. It is a track that I skip. It can seem quite repetitive at times lyrically, and I didn’t necessarily vibe with the sonics of the song and the production. There seemed to be a disconnect between the production and the melody that kind of threw me off, so this is a song that I would listen to on my initial listen of the album and never listen to it again.

"Graveyard" is a complete one-eighty from "Clementine" in that the tempo is faster, there’s a lot more production, and it is just a much more fun song sonically. However, the song seems to be a continuation of "Ashley." Consider it Ashley: Part 2. Right after this, we get into one of my favorite songs on the album, and buckle up, honey, because this is where she starts spilling tea.

"You Should Be Sad "is emotional, pretty raw and honest. Halsey holds nothing back. She doesn’t even try to hide who she is talking about; it’s more of a call out, especially with the lyrics, “No, you’re not half the man you think that you are / And you can’t fill the hole inside of you with money, drugs, and cars / I’m so glad I never ever had a baby with you / ‘Cause you can’t love nothing unless there’s something in it for you.” That is so pointed that I am sure anyone with an internet connection could figure out who she is talking about…

"Forever…(is a long time)" is another one of the slower tracks and it really has a haunting melody towards the end of the song that sets it apart from the other tracks. It is incredibly captivating, so if you want to chill and have emo hours, this is the song for you. Right after this is the Interlude with Dominic Fike, which is just encouraging Halsey to get out of the toxic relationship she had in "Forever…(is a long time)." Most interludes are skips for me, and I don’t think I necessarily needed this one to bridge any kind of gap in the story that Halsey is telling.

"I Hate Everybody" is just a relatable song, let’s be honest. Sometimes it’s just easier to say you hate everybody than face the reality which is that she falls in love with anyone who doesn’t actually want her. She has experienced toxic after toxic relationships in her life, something a lot of us can relate to, so it is honestly just easier to say you hate everyone.

Image Credit: Capitol Records

If you want a depression bop, listen to "3am." It is my favorite on the album. Is that because it’s rock-influenced or because it makes me bang my head and feel depressed at the same time? Who knows. If you love the rock side of Halsey’s sound, you will love this song. "Without Me" is a song we have all heard and most of us love. It was all over the radio when it was released and you couldn’t really go to a radio station without hearing it at least once. While it isn’t my favorite on the album, I am in love with the production of the song.

"Finally // Beautiful Stranger" is such a heartwarming track. Halsey slowed the album down with a simple guitar. This is just Halsey showing us that she found her person, and it is such a beautiful song. If you want to feel like you’ve been hugged, listen to this song. It is just a warm embrace.

"The Interlude" with Alanis Morissette is a testament to Halsey’s bisexuality. It’s a bisexual anthem if I’ve ever heard one, and honestly we stan. The beginning of "Killing Boys" should sound familiar to anyone who saw the 2009 film "Jennifer's Body" because its the audio from one of the most iconic scenes of the movie. It basically tells the story of Halsey trying to break into her ex-partner’s house and deciding not to because she doesn’t need them anymore. Think of the music video for Taylor Swift’s "Picture to Burn" for this one.

"The Interlude" with Suga and BTS is beautiful, regardless if you are a fan of K-Pop, but this is one I have to be in the mood to listen to. However, it leads beautifully into More, the most heartbreaking and raw song on the album, and it makes me cry every single time I listen to it. It’s about the miscarriage that Halsey had, and it is so raw and authentic, hence why I cry. You can feel the emotion in her voice vibrate throughout your body as you listen to it. It isn’t one I would expect to hear on tour because of how emotional and personal it is to Halsey.

"Still Learning" is about learning to love yourself. Live your life by the mantra that no one else will love you until you start to. You can’t expect someone else to teach you how to love yourself. That power has to come from within, and that’s really what this song is projecting. "929," the final track on the album, is essentially letting you in on the thoughts in Halsey’s head as she struggles with her image, who she is as Ashley, where she came from, and everything in between. It is a really great way to make the album come full circle and feel cohesive.

Overall, this is very different from her other two projects, but this one is much more personal to Halsey/Ashley in a way that is heartbreaking in its honesty, resulting in it being a gorgeous work of art.