In her third album, Manic, Halsey draws on her experience with bipolar disorder to paint a picture of her life through her lyrics and style. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Halsey revealed that she wrote the album in the middle of a manic episode. It’s clear when listening to Manic that she’s battling many competing feelings, including anger, sadness, regret, and even euphoria. While the album has faced criticism for masking the darkness of Halsey’s struggles with pop melodies and light beats, these features seem to be intentionally contrasted with devastating lyrics in an attempt to capture the wrestle of depression and euphoria that those with bipolar disorder often feel.
Manic has been presented as “an album by Ashley [her real name], for Halsey,” which emphasizes the active relationship between the person she experiences life as and the person she presents to the public. Halsey continuing to acknowledge her experience with bipolar disorder is certainly a step in the right direction for mental health awareness, and it's commendable that she doesn't hold back inn showing any imperfections that result from her experience(s). In addition to her mental health, Halsey touches on issues of past relationships, her experience with bisexuality and fame, and even alludes to the trauma that came with her miscarriage in “More.” Instead of presenting a success story, Halsey presents us with something much more honest and raw in Manic: an illustration of her chaotic psyche.
In a short audio introduction to Manic, Halsey presents listeners with the following framework to listen to the album through: “There’s an ancient saying that you have three faces: the one you broadcast to the world, the second you show to those closest to you, and the last one you never show to anyone. The first one is Halsey, the second is Ashley, but there’s a third that exists in the cracks between the two—the most carnal, uninhibited flash of color and light hiding in the center of my chest. I’m Halsey, Ashley, and I’m offering you a glimpse of that third face.”
Here are excerpts of some of the lyrics in Halsey's Manic that speak to the dynamic challenges of her experience.
“I’m just a fucked up girl who’s lookin’ for my own peace of mind.
Don’t assign me yours”
“Left my shoes in the street so you'd carry me
Through a breakdown
Through a breakdown or a blackout”
I HATE EVERYBODY
“It's 'cause I notice every single thing
That's ever happening in the moment
And I don't know why it's consuming me”
“I got a paranoia in me
And you wouldn’t believe
Everything that I’ve seen, no
Coming apart at the seams”
“And it’s just these things that I’m thinkin’ for hours
And I’m pickin’ my hair out in clumps in the shower”