Ashley Nicolette Frangipane– known professionally as Halsey– released her third studio album, “Manic,” Jan. 17. The pop-princess is now at a pivotal point in her life: her mid-twenties. With social media having had an immense impact on the millennial generation, 20 somethings are reinventing who they previously were. Halsey is currently going through this phase after shooting into stardom following her debut album “Badlands,” which hit number two on the Billboard 200 chart in 2015. Her new pop sound exploded in the new era of pop and resulted in a cult following of mega fans. Her 2017 sophomore album “Hopeless Fountain Kingdom” achieved even bigger success, reaching number one on the Billboard 200 chart.
Now, after the release of her new album “Manic”– the title of which playfully pokes fun at her bipolar disorder– the artist embarks on a totally raw and stripped-down journey of self discovery and love, solidifying her as the badass singer-songwriter she is.
The 16-song record, which Halsey admits is the first album in which she wrote as Ashley and not under her alter ego, serves synth-pop realness while staying true to the uniqueness that made Halsey famous. There are six singles on the album: “clementine,” “Graveyard,” “You should be sad,” “Without Me,” “Finally // beautiful stranger” and “Still Learning.” Of those, “Without Me”– the song clearly about her ex boyfriend G-Eazy– reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it her first number one as the lead artist.
Her latest, “Still Learning,” tackles the hardship of fame and is a raw anthem about loving yourself– flaws and all. The song begins with Halsey singing “I should be living the dream, but I’m living with a security team,” alluding to the fact that though she should be content being one of the most famous pop stars, she always has to keep her guard up and be protected at all times. The album as a whole is filled with different beats, from soft-pop to early 2000’s pop rock.
Although she is a fantastic singer, Halsey is also an incredible songwriter, having already been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame before the age of 25. Her lyrics are equally vulnerable as they are relatable. The last song on the album, “929″ is filled with raw confessions and personal experiences. In it, she sings lines such as “Because nobody loves you, they just try to fuck you, then put you on a feature on the B-side.” Presumably referring to her highly public relationship with G-Eazy in 2018, Halsey explains the reality of what it is like being a female in the music industry: being seen as a piece of meat rather than for astonishing vocals.
Lines like these, so bold and honest, are what make Halsey the singer-songwriter her fans know and love. With features from Alanis Morissette, Dominic Fike and Suga of Korean mega group BTS and producers such as Benny Blanco and FINNEAS, Halsey’s “Manic” is nothing short of a beautifully crafted pop album for today’s generation.
To listen to Halsey’s latest project, click here.