Ever since Halsey released “Nightmare,” an empowering anthem which took a stand against catcalling and harassment alongside a star-studded music video boasting Blondie vocalist Debbie Harry and “Carnival Row” star Cara Delevingne back in May, I have eagerly anticipated another glimpse at her then-unannounced third album, “Manic.” The album’s second single “Graveyard,” which dropped Sept. 12, has only left me more curious about the direction in which Halsey’s new era is headed.
While the chorus of ”Nightmare” is meant to be shouted along with by sold-out crowds in the arenas where Halsey often performs, “Graveyard” is where I imagine fans waving their cell phone flashlights in a more intimate moment of the show. Where “Nightmare” is electric, “Graveyard” is acoustic, with soft guitar instrumentals and an upbeat chorus. The polar opposite singles feel like two different ends of a spectrum, and I’m very excited to see where the rest of “Manic” falls in between.
On its own, however, “Graveyard” is a somewhat weak song, and the lyrics are disappointingly forgettable considering Halsey’s talent as a songwriter. This is part of an ongoing problem I have with the singles she puts out before releasing an album — they tend to be the weakest selections from an otherwise fantastic final product. With “Badlands” back in 2015, the single in question was “New Americana,” with 2017’s “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom” it was “Eyes Closed,” and 2019 has dug up “Graveyard.”
As strange as it sounds, I am actually relieved to consider “Graveyard” the weaker of the two singles we’ve heard from “Manic” so far. While I have my issues with the song, I still enjoyed it far more than “New Americana” or “Eyes Closed,” and Halsey makes up for the forgettable lyrics with fantastic vocals and an excellent beat. “Graveyard” may be a B-tier single, but it gives me hope that “Manic” will be an A-tier album.