Photo via pitchfork.com

Rating: 5 stars

Ashley Frangipane, known by her stage name Halsey, released her third album on Jan. 17, 2020. The new project, titled “Manic,” includes 16 new songs that have alternative pop fans talking. With a total run time of 47 minutes, the album doesn’t disappoint with its ballads and heartfelt confessions from the popular singer. Interesting song titles and a colorfully depressing album cover are just a few of the quirks that typically accompany Halsey’s style and music, and she never fails to impress. 

Halsey’s unique sound and her grungy-alto voice allow her pop and alternative music to reach a new dimension of emotion, drama and rawness. This album tells her fans a story over the course of the album’s 16 songs. This is well-reflected in the album cover that clearly exposes her face in a way that it has never been shown before on her covers or on social media; with this album, she wants her listeners to see her. 

The first song of the album, titled “Ashley,” sets a dramatic and starkly honest tone for the rest of the songs that follow. Halsey’s voice accompanied by beautiful instruments is what makes this song so captivating and worthy of being listened to.

“Graveyard,” which was released as a single in late September, is a more upbeat pop song that talks of pining for love, as well as Halsey’s devotion towards the people she cares about most. With its electronic and techno vibes, it adds an interesting twist into the otherwise alternative sounding mix.

“I HATE EVERYBODY,” the seventh song on the album, really captures the title of “Manic.” Halsey expresses her emotions in this song, singing of her desire to be by herself and celebrate solitude despite being a human who wants connection. The lines, “I hate everybody / Well then why can’t I go home without somebody,” capture the feeling that many young adults are faced with when they desire a relationship or companionship while also wanting to face things alone. Her honesty makes this album relatable on many levels deeper than the surface, and there is a lot of reading between-the-lines meaning with this song in particular that brings with it heavy emotion and reflection.

“3am,” the eighth song on the album, is a guitar-heavy upbeat song that’s style approaches that of country music, which is in contrast to Halsey’s typical alternative pop sound. She plays with notes and octaves in this piece and experiments with style. It is one of the most colorful and instrumental songs in the bunch.

“Without Me,” a song in the album that was originally released as a single on Oct. 4, 2018, highlights the classic and rich-sounding tone of Halsey’s voice that she makes iconic in many of her hit songs. The way she plays with her voice brings something new to the world of pop music.

There is a lot of variety in this album, and a song for every mood and feeling. Halsey brings her audience through a rollercoaster of personal testimonies and emotions, and you are able to experience everything along with her. There is something for everyone’s taste in this new album, and no two songs are the same or even similar.