After two sensational and evolutionary releases, fans were ready to see where Halsey would take her sound next, so let’s dive in and talk about what makes “Manic” remarkable. Yes, I might’ve spoiled a bit of the review by talking about the record in higher regards, but it is hard to sugarcoat something that is so breathtaking. This record takes the ideals that Halsey has built her career off and spins it to create a new era for the artist. So, what does all that mean? As one makes their way through the record, it is heard that Halsey’s characteristic approach to music is heard throughout every track. This is heard through the minimalistic approach to alternative pop music with the appropriate number of instrumental jabs here and there to accent the gut-punches she provides through her lyrics. Additionally, each selection drives with a groove that centers around the primary instrumental line that is introduced during the beginning of each track. This helps to establish a unique sound for each work, and even though each selection is vastly different, the audience can feel the connection between every song because of the Halsey flair that is sprinkled on each individual work. When one listens to this album, it feels as if you are transported to a different time, somewhere that is far away, where you can be peaceful all on your own. This is due to the reflective and emotional nature of the work. This allows the artist to pull her vulnerability and show her listeners that it is okay to put your hardships out into the world: this creates a sense of empathy and support for one another through the record. Overall, I am giving the album a 5 out of 5 stars because this record truly takes you somewhere new that is personal to the individual, and what they are going through in life. There is something for everyone on this record, and the music that is found on this album is innovative while also nostalgic, which creates an atmosphere of solid music that everyone should experience. I think I could talk about every little detail in this release, but this record is best felt through experience, and let me tell you, that first listen: magical.
“clementine”, “3am”, and “Forever … (is a long time)”
Now, every selection on this record is breathtaking and remarkable in its own right; however, when one makes their way through this record, these stick with the soul a bit more, so let’s talk about why that is. This record embodies the evolution and the vulnerability of Halsey as a human being and as an artist in the scene of music she resides it. Through that, Halsey is toying with a variety of musical techniques and genres throughout the entirety of the work. This gives her a wide spectrum of music to work with, technique wise. This is crucial for the selections that stick out, for these track embody every bit that makes up Halsey as an artist, which gives the audience this surreal connection to themselves and to the music they are experiencing. I believe this record should be listened to from front to back, but if you just want a little taste: start here!
When looking at the artwork by itself, it strikes the soul and is characteristic Halsey, so I would say we are off to a good start. The cover art has an image of Halsey just starring blankly into the distance. One of her eyes is shadowed in blue paint, and the image, as a whole, drives on a pastel blue and pink color scheme. As mentioned earlier, the image is strong on its own, but let’s see if it relates to the music that falls on the inside. As one listens to the record, it is apparent that Halsey is giving her true self to the audience through tracks that just drive on emotion and vulnerability. This relates to the image that is found on the front, for the look in Halsey’s eyes allude to the notion that she is in pain, but she is pushing through and she is surviving as well as thriving, and that is the exact mood that is driven through the tunes on this record. Another connection that I feel to be crucial, but may be a bit of a stretch, is the dream-like atmosphere that Halsey creates through the music on the inside as well as through the cover image. Since Halsey drives with a minimalistic hand with dashes of spiced up instrumentals where appropriate, a lot of the musical content that falls on the inside drives with a light and free sound, which makes the listener feel like they are daydreaming. This matches well with the cover, for the pastel colors that are used work with a lighter color scheme, and as that is present, the application on the image (the almost watercolor approach to the paint) mixes to create this wash of an image that makes me think one of dreaming through art. Furthermore, both the album cover and music on the inside is strong on its own, but together? They create an experiential masterpiece that society needs.
*”Manic” was released on January 17th, 2020 through Capitol Records.