MANIC is Halsey‘s third studio album and while some of the Disc contains material we’re already familiar with like smash hits Graveyard and of course Without Me, we see the edgy Songwriter-Songstress bare some deep, aging wounds to the world. The 16-track Collection contains material produced by the likes of Benny Blanco, Cashmere Cat, Lido and Greg Kurstin, accounting for a variety of sounds and influences which make-up Halsey. While there are a mixture of sounds, Manic maintains that dark, melancholic mood she has mastered in her brand of Music.
There is a bit of regret in the first-half of the Album on opening number “Ashley“, where she contemplates her own struggles, life choices and the messes she’s made. “You Should Be So Sad” has her not so secretly calling-out ex-boyfriend G-Eazy,”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”. We hear her try out her Country leanings here – which is new for her – as does she also on the gorgeous Ballad Finally/Beautiful Stranger, appearing later on the Disc which shifts to a lighter mood.
Halsey enlists the help of an eclectic mix of talent on some interludes and feature spots including Alanis Morrissette, who sings the hook on sexuality-exploring, label-shattering Alanis‘ Interlude; BTS member Suga’s Suga’s Interlude which incorporates Halsey‘s love for K-Pop; and perhaps the best of the three guest spots, Dominic Fike‘s Dominic’s Interlude which goes a bit Brit-Pop. This then leads us into one of the Album’s best moments, “I Hate Everybody“, where she gives a bit more insight into her mental struggles, “I feel like a scaly thing wrapped too tight around its Master” and asks why she has to go home with somebody if she hates everybody. “More” has Halsey reflecting on lost love, perhaps a message for her estranged father whom she admits she’d love to hear from on Album Closer “929“, named after her birthday.
The Album contains interesting uncredited snippets from Films like Jennifer’s Body by Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind by Kate Winslet; and an encouraging voicemail from John Mayer sounding like a record label mogul, congratulating her on her success, leading into Without Me.
Manic certainly has a lot going on, giving fans a lot to listen to and think about, but in it all, we feel Halsey’s honesty and are captivated by her ability to express herself and tell us her story as a young woman who still is learning to love herself and love others.
Preview some of the tracks off Manic:
You Should be Sad
I Hate Everybody
Universal Music Canada release MANIC, now in stores. Purchase it here.