By Katie Peters– Arts Editor
Halsey is back with her fluid music style and powerful voice on her third full-length album, ‘Manic,’ which was released on January 17. The 16-track record features verses from a variety of artists such as Dominic Fike, Alanis Morissette, SUGA, and BTS.
The singer has a way of making the listener think they know where the beat is carrying a song and then she pulls something new out of nowhere to create a new sound. Her music sounds familiar and new at the same time, something that appeals to many new listeners.
This Grammy award-winning artist experiments with new sounds throughout ‘Manic.’ In the songs “You should be sad” and “Finally // beautiful stranger,” the singer-songwriter explores a more pop-country instrumental track than what is typical for her. The acoustic guitar with Halsey’s (for the most part) mellow vocals give listeners something new from the alternative pop-rock meets hip-hop music usually is produced by this artist.
The first song on the album, “Ashley,” ends with audio from the film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” with the main character, Clemintine, saying, “I’m just a f*cked up girl looking for my own peace of mind. Don’t assign me yours.” This audio clip captures one theme that appears throughout Halsey’s entire discography, trying to find your way through love and loss while still remaining independent. This song leads directly into “clementine,” which was released as a single in late September.
Halsey uses another audio clip from the movie “Jennifer’s Body” in the song “killing boys.” Her youthful and rebellious spirit shines through in the lyrics and beat of this song while she sings of revenge for a former lover.
Surprisingly, the track “Without Me” appeared on the newest album. This song gained popularity when it was first released as a single on Oct. 4, 2018. It is now her second most popular song on Spotify with over 948 million listens since its release. She also included the single “Nightmare,” released in May of 2019.
There is no shortage of personal stories woven throughout the album which is typical for her music. The lyrics are raw and emotional, telling small stories of the sing- er’s life. The song “Still Learning” shows the singer’s struggles with self-esteem and gives insight into the origin of her issues with lyrics like “I go home and I got no self-esteem… It’s passed around my family tree.” Much like “Ashley,” this song has the theme of paranoia that pops up occasionally throughout all of her music.
Perhaps the most powerful song off this album is its finale, “929.” The quiet start of Halsey saying she was born at 9:29 a.m. on September 29 brings the listener closer to her. She goes on to sing lyrics about her life since her career took off. It’s the story of the ugly side of fame, singing, “I’m picking my hair out in clumps in the shower, I lost the love of my life to an ivory powder.” The song finishes with her saying, “I was really born at 9:26, it’s on my birth certificate… I’m a f*cking liar.”
By being so open about her struggles, Hasley easily relates to the struggles of her listeners. She is currently on her Manic World Tour in Europe. She will be coming to the Xfinity Center in Mansfield on July 5.