Halsey: Manic review – Deeply confessional, scathing and muddled
In an attempt to express herself on her third album, Halsey (née Ashley Frangipane) borrows a personality from Kate Winslet’s character Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to drive a point home. Naming a song after her and shoehorning a quote from the movie – “I’m just a f**ked-up girl who’s looking for my own peace of mind. Don’t assign me yours” – into the opening track Ashley, she paradoxically tries to get personal while playing the role of somebody else. And it sort of works.
By going country on the bittersweet and deeply confessional You Should Be Sad and emo on I Hate Everybody, the 25-year-old genre-hops to convey everything she’s experiencing in life. Without Me, her number one, mid-tempo electro-R&B single, is partially about her break-up from the completely average rapper G-Eazy and it strikes that perfect balance of spite and liberation that comes from exiting a toxic relationship. Finally // Beautiful Stranger carries timid caution into a new loved-up state, while the barbed 929 is a scathing take on the music industry. Running long at 16 tracks and featuring collaborations with Alanis Morissette, Dominic Fike and BTS member Suga, it’s a busy album that does too much at once. Amidst the mania, it’s hard to get a true understanding of Halsey the artist or Ashley the person, but maybe that was her intention all along. manicthealbum.com