What You Need To Know - January 17, 2020

Halsey's Manic: What You Need To Know
by James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor, hmv.com

Halsey's Manic: What You Need To Know

Ever since her guest appearance on the Chainsmokers' 2016 smash 'Closer', New Jersey-born singer-songwriter Halsey has been steadily establishing herself as one of the music industry's most bankable stars, reaching the summit of the Billboard chart with her platinum-certified second album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom and racking up streaming numbers in the tens and sometimes hundreds of millions.

This week Halsey returns with her third full-length offering, Manic, which makes its arrival in stores today Here's everything you need to know...


A little background...

Talk of a third album began in March last year, when Halsey told Billboard that her third full-length offering would be arriving later in 2019. This was followed in May with the release of her single 'Nightmare' which, although not included on the album, was accompanied by a video containing a scene which seemed to hint towards an October 2019 release date for her third LP.

However, when the album's title was finally unveiled in September last year, along with new single 'Graveyard', it emerged that the album would arrive in January 2020. It was also revealed in December that the tracklist would include Halsey's 2018 single 'Without Me'.


Who's producing it?

Norwegian producer Lido, who has worked on both of Halsey's previous albums, contributes to roughly half of the album's tracks, while Manic also features production from Greg Kurstin, Louis Bell, Jon Bellion and Miami-based production team The Monsters and the Strangerz.


Any special guests?

Just three guests performers on the new album, each of whom appear on tracks named after them – 'Dominic's Interlude' features an appearance from Dominic Fike, 'Suga's Interlude' features BTS star Suga, presumably returning the favour after Halsey appeared on BTS single 'Boys with Luv' last year, while Alanis Morissette rounds out the trio of guests with an appearance on 'Alanis' Interlude'.


What does it sound like?

The main thing that stands out about Manic, compared to its predecessor, is a more organic sound palette; where Hopeless Fountain Kingdom was awash with brooding, atmospheric synths, here they're largely replaced with acoustic guitars, lush strings and reverb-drenched pianos. There are some exceptions to that rule – Without Me being a case in point, perhaps because it's one of the older songs on the album – but on others like 'You Should Be Sad' and 'Finally // Beautiful Stranger' it's the acoustic guitars that really propel the songs' grooves, giving the album a more natural feel than her earlier ones.

There's a much broader range of influences at work here too – Halsey has mentioned the album's title being a reference to this, telling Rolling Stone that she has taken inspiration from “"hip-hop, rock, country, f***ing everything” in the course of putting this one together, and it shows. There are hints of country on 'You Should Be Sad', echoes of the Beach Boys in the vocal harmonies of 'Dominic's Interlude', and even a Beatles-esque mellotron riff on 'I Hate Everybody'.

Halsey has also spoken about this album being very personal and that shines through in some of her lyrics on the new album. If her first two records have been about figuring out her sound, this one sounds more like Halsey trying to figure out herself, but the result is that she sounds much more free, in terms of both style and substance, than she ever has.

Does it deliver?

There's definitely a very different flavour to Manic, but it's one that her fans are likely to enjoy. All the same characteristics and pop sensibilities are still there, but the more organic sounds make this record feel much more intimate in some ways than her earlier albums.



Manic is available in stores now - you can also find it here in our online store, including a deluxe CD edition exclusively available at hmv.

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