Photo by Aidan Cullen
Halsey’s new album Manic recently came out and wow it’s an amazing rollercoaster ride; every song has a bit of a different genre and change of theme. I think this is really creative and it means that there is something for everyone. There are also a lot of different voices that we get to hear on the tracks, from Alanis Morrissette, famous for Ironic to SUGA a rapper from BTS. Each interlude not only shows the talents of Halsey but also the talents of the co-creators.
One of my favourite songs on the album is clementine. Although the lyrics have some dark undertones, it also has a childish vibe to it. Through the percussion and piano, the song gives off a nostalgic feeling and makes you think of times when life was easier. The lyrics change from a question that children might ask to a quick shift to being an adult. The shouting behind ‘I don’t need anyone’ can be interpreted as child having a tantrum or an adult who is either trying to protect themselves or is independent. It is a refreshing take on music and really makes me think of my childhood.
The next song on my list of favourites is Without me. This is a drastic shift from clementine, with a lot more of an adult stance on relationships. It’s also more of a pop tone, you can definitely see this song being played in clubs or bars. ‘I didn’t notice because my love was blind’ shows that people might not see how toxic a relationship is until they fall out of love with the person or manage to escape them. I feel like the song is kind of expressing a realisation of self-worth; the fact that the person thinks ‘they could live without me’ after everything she’s done to lift them up.
Finally //Beautiful stranger is my all-time favourite song on the album. It has a country feel to it which the guitar and drum sequence instil. It is a lot calmer compared to a lot of her other songs on the album and it shows a different side of Halsey as well as showing off her many talents. This is a love song with the underlying fear of being hurt; we can see this in the line ‘finally safe for me to fall’. I feel like this song means so much more in today’s society, where more and more people seem to be afraid to fall in love due to the fear of being hurt. ‘And I say I’m only playing but the truth is this’ suggests that it’s easier to say you’re messing around than to tell someone your real feelings.
Lastly, we have More. To me the beginning of the song with the synthesiser reminds me of a heart monitor; although I don’t know if this is intentional, I think it’s a very effective part of the song. The song later changes to a more dream like sound executed by using a xylophone. The song to me is about wanting to still be with someone even though you’ve lost them. The first verse to me sounds as if you’re waiting to hear whether the person will survive. ‘They told me it’s useless, there’s no hope in store’ reminds me of the constant hope people have that something will change even if a doctor says there’s no hope. However, the second verse suggests that it’s a break up and they think things will work out better if they try again. ‘Nothing can stop me from giving a try’ suggests whatever the situation she is still willing to try and make the situation better, as she has ‘loved you for all of my life.’
I personally really like the changes within the album, and the fact that she can so easily and quickly change between genre’s, shows just how talented Halsey is. From rock to country all of the genres suit her voice well and show different parts of her vocals, whilst accentuating her voice.