Manic (2020)—as the title suggests or doesn’t—is delivered downbeat, a collection of angsty songs that seem to have a personal connection to the artist (seemingly by the lyrical content) involving breakdown, break-up, hang ups and deft-defying crashes with reality. There is even the unfortunate foray into a raunchy moment, which comes off as shock effect than artistically honed.
As an album delivered to the popular mainstream, the consciousness of the masses may or may not take this in its stride at all.
Manic is evidence that Halsey may have something else up her sleeve next time—perhaps something more Populaire. But one suspects that her forte is the gravelly substance that the shovel has dumped on the doorstep. Real and unglamourised.
Halsey’s vocal angst is the reason the words evoke a real sense of angst and rawness, human condition sub-par-excellence before knocking on the therapist’s door. Revealing, honest, and down-to-earth about struggles, without soft peddling it, raw and unglamourized, and thankfully so.
Without her vocal talent is another story and the lyrics fall into loose fitting oblivion:
Oh, I feel so sorry
I feel so sad
I tried to help you
It just made you mad
And I had no warning
About who you are
I’m just glad I made it out
Without breaking down
Real penetrating writing, eh? I was affected by Halsey’s raw vocal delivery above anything else. The power is in the way it is said.
Christian music could learn something from the learning aspect of her music, in that the artist is still wanting to be complete, rather than having found everything she needs. A Christian song can be written in the way that says to God I am still trying to love you, and that I haven’t made it in that area, yet, and I think God won’t look down on that. He would be pleased with humility.
It helps to appreciate the album more by following the lyric sheet with the music on. And with the sound of Halsey’s voice. However, just playing the album without any assistance, Halsey sounds too intense and the music does not resonate. Halsey’s got a good voice, but the pain she imparts, if one just hears it, is too much in one sitting.
Published 2020, peteswritingnotes.com