Following 2017’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, Halsey (Capitol Records) released her third record, Manic, on Friday, and it’s everything fans have been waiting for. The album takes the listeners on a 16-songs journey into Halsey’s world, where she’s “constantly having a breakthrough or breakdown or blackout”. Manic’s melancholic atmosphere is captivating, unique, and makes the record sound like a coherent whole despite a massive variety between songs. Exploring genres ranging from pop punk and country to the singer’s signature melancholic alt-pop, Manic has something for everyone and doesn’t get monotonous for a single second.
Complementing this interesting sound, the lyrics are brutally honest and beautifully vulnerable, showcasing nothing but Halsey: her thoughts, her emotions, her personality. While this candidness makes some of the songs – like the closing 929 – too personal for outsiders to relate to, it’s amazing to finally see someone daring to be entirely honest in today’s pop music of pretense.
It is, however, far from surprising that Manic turned out to be such a masterpiece: Halsey got help from mega producers like Greg Kurstin (Adele, P!nk, Sia), Benny Blanco (Ed Sheeran, Maroon 5) and Finneas (Billie Eilish, Tove Lo), as well as such featured artists as rock legend Alanis Morissette, BTS’s Suga, or one of our current favourite rising stars Dominic Fike.
Overall score: 8/10
Best songs: You should be sad, 929, Still learning