Halsey’s new album Manic is here, and no one is more relieved than the star herself. “The most torturing and beautiful wait of my life has come to an end,” she tweeted upon the project’s release on Friday (January 17).
The wait, thankfully, was worth it. Manic capitalizes on Halsey’s chameleonic approach to pop music, while delving deep into her relationships, her experience with bipolar disorder, and her constant toggle between confidence and self-doubt. Unlike her sophomore record, 2017’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, which was set in a Shakespearean dystopia, Manic functions as the inside of Halsey’s (oftentimes messy) mind. And what it a reveal it is.
Fans had already heard about half of Manic before its arrival — there were the previously released songs “Graveyard,” “Without Me,” “Clementine,” “You Should Be Sad,” “Finally // Beautiful Stranger,” and “Suga’s Interlude.” But the brand new tracks are where Halsey really bares her soul. She confesses that she’s “got no self-esteem” on “Still Learning,” fantasizes about revenge on “Killing Boys,” and cries out on the all-caps “I HATE EVERYBODY” — a lyric that she finishes with the thought, “Then why can’t I go home without somebody?”
But it’s closing track “929,” named after Halsey’s birthday, that may be the most shockingly candid of all. Over twinkling chords, she details the anxiety, isolation, heartbreak, nicotine withdrawal, and hair loss that come along with being one of the most famous pop stars on Earth. “I remember the names of every single kid I’ve met / But I forget half the people who I’ve gotten in bed,” she sings, later admitting that she’s “still looking for salvation.”
Manic also reunites Halsey with BTS member Suga, and features additional collaborations with Dominic Fike and Alanis Morissette. On “Alanis’ Interlude,” the two women twist John Mayer’s “Your Body Is a Wonderland” into something more playful and explicit: “Your pussy is a wonderland.”
Stream Manic in its entirety below.