Music / Review

Album of the Week: Halsey – Manic

Delve into her third album; a stark exploration of fame, family and the self.

From synth-heavy pop to goth-rock and electro beats, Halsey’s latest offering is a genre-hopping experiment that well and truly pays off.

The American singer-songwriter expands on her pop roots by dipping her toe into country vibes and flirting with ’90s psychedelic rock and scuzzy guitars, all the while discussing love, pondering fame and its negative effects, and detailing her mental health struggles.

Self-described by Halsey as “all over the place”, Manic is simultaneously beautiful and refined in its confessional nature and showcases her sensitivity, all the while darting between themes and spanning multiple genres.

Manic includes the previously released tracks clementine, Graveyard, You should be sad, Without Me and Finally // beautiful stranger. Standalone single, Nightmare – released earlier in 2019, fusing trap and nu metal and sampling t.A.T.u single All The Things She Said – does not make the record.

Marking her first full-length since 2017’s hopeless fountain kingdom, Manic‘s production duties fall, in part, to super-producer Greg Kurstin and a handful of A-list studio pros, while Timberland, Justin Timberlake, Ed Sheeran, Alanis Morrisette and more bag writing credits.

There’s a vulnerability in Still Learning, while the fizzing melody of Ashley – the opening track and the star’s real first name – offers up a letter to herself and features Kate Winslet in the outro.

Country-tinged You should be sad presents an outlet for her frustrations as she berates an unknown ex-boyfriend, a track which joins stunning ballad Without Me in theme, discussing the infidelity of another ex, G-Eazy.

The personal nature of her writing continues in the slow-burning love ballad Finally // Beautiful Stranger as she details her first meeting with collaborator and future partner-now ex-boyfriend Yungblud.

The album’s interludes are a who’s who of music royalty, featuring Suga of BTS rapping against Halsey’s bubble-gum pop melody, Dominic Fike’s touch of indie meets hip-hop, and Alanis Morrissette collaborating against a steady industrial drum beat.

The wide scope of genres, sounds and special guests give Manic a distinctive edge, while still pop at its core branching out to deliver something fresh, unique and honest.

See Halsey live on her Manic World Tour when it stops in the UK this March [Find tickets]


Tracklisting:
1. Ashley
2. Clementine
3. Graveyard
4. You Should Be Sad
5. Forever … (Is a Long Time)
6. Dominic’s Interlude (with Dominic Fike)
7. I Hate Everybody
8. 3AM
9. Without Me
10. Finally // Beautiful Stranger
11. Alanis’ Interlude (with Alanis Morissette)
12. Killing Boys
13. Suga’s Interlude (with Suga of BTS)
14. More
15. Still Learning
16. 929


Listen to Manic on Spotify:

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