Don't let your Boomer family get you down.
Thanksgiving has always been about food.
We suffer through the awkward small talk and often anti-climactic football games for the sake of the meal that awaits us at the end of the day, and even then that "meal" is representative of ethnic cleansing and genocide. But there are a few other pros that lay outside of gorging yourself on mashed potatoes. The holiday always falls on a Thursday, which means you always have a four day weekend. Black Friday is also the following day, so despite whatever infuriating experiences you may have on Thanksgiving with your family, you can at least rest easy knowing you can go out and buy enough stuff to numb the pain.
These reasons alone are enough to warrant celebration. So while you clench your jaw through what is almost guaranteed to be a painfully long afternoon, why not curate some music to help elevate your mood and remind yourself that a four day weekend of relaxation awaits?
"Thank U" By Alanis Morrisette
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Halsey clapped back at a concert-goer who kept yelling the name of her famous ex-boyfriend, but it shouldn't have happened in the first place.
Whether its her evocative lyricism or unfiltered tweets, Halsey is widely known for her openness on her mental health issues and her personal life.
The singer's vulnerability has also resulted in a close public eye on all of her romantic relationships, particularly her on-again, off-again love affair with rapper G-Eazy. Though the details of their rocky relationship remain mostly unconfirmed, Halsey has alluded to the fact that he cheated on her, and some have suspected G-Eazy was abusive towards her based on his troubles with the law. Either way—judging by Halsey's reaction to a concert-goer who kept shouting G-Eazy's name—the split was apparently ugly.
Videos surfaced over the weekend of a recent Halsey performance at which someone in the crowd yelled her ex's name multiple times. "If you say G-Eazy one more f--king time, I will kick your ass out of this party," she yelled. It's unclear if the name-caller ended up being escorted out of the show, but the incident points to an irritating trend in which female pop stars struggle to escape from the shadows of their famed relationships.
halsey went off and didn’t give a fuck https://t.co/sBSRoC7OIv— yari ⛓ (@yari ⛓)1580622967.0
When Mac Miller was charged for a DUI following a May 2018 car crash, fans were quick to blame the incident—as well as his fatal overdose that followed a few months later—on Ariana Grande, with whom he'd recently split. Grande stood up for herself in a Twitter statement, and Miller's friend Shane Powers sang praise for her stabilizing presence as Miller tried to get his substance abuse under control. And then, perhaps most prominently, there's Taylor Swift, who even amid attempts to keep her love life under wraps has spent the majority of her career in an unfair narrative centered around whoever she's dating. Halsey, Grande, and Swift are currently among pop's most successful women; why are they still living as extensions of their ex-boyfriends? Is it because the music industry, generally speaking, is still hesitant to acknowledge a woman's success can exist without the support of men?
Halsey was right to call out the person in the crowd who kept yelling G-Eazy's name, and doing so shouldn't be considered unprofessional. It's a knee-jerk reaction to pent-up anger that results from your career being too often associated with exes, in a way those previous male partners will likely never understand.
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"Manic" features BTS' Suga, Alanis Morissette, Dominic Fike, and many different versions of Halsey.
Halsey's new album might be called Manic, but though its lyrics often reference the symptoms of mania in bipolar disorder—impulsivity, hyper-social behavior, and intense euphoria—it sounds calculated and weary, like someone taking stock in the midst of a comedown, looking over the scars and broken glass from last night's party.
But instead of hiding her wounds and fears away in plastic bags, Halsey sculpts her broken pieces into a work of art.
The themes on Manic aren't exactly unique. Halsey sings about lostness—a constant of the human experience—and her observations about self-loathing, betrayal, and hyper-visibility will feel particularly familiar to a generation raised on social media in an era when the self is perpetually monetized and fractured.
Halsey is uniquely talented at crystallizing her lack of a solid self into hit pop songs, which could soundtrack bars and nightclubs just as easily as your next sob session.
Sonically, the album is collage-like, studded with features, and overall a bit exhausting to listen to. It's at its best when it fades into silences or lets a few dreamy guitars wander through, but sometimes all the elements together become overbearing. That was probably Halsey's intent, though—to create a roller-coaster that emulates her roller-coaster life and mind.
Halsey borrows extensively from other artists and genres, and sonic references pop up like Instagram notifications. On "clementine," she sounds like she's imitating the sing-shouting style of Twenty One Pilots. "I don't need anyone," she screams. "I just need everyone and then some. I'm always having a breakthrough / or a breakdown." "Forever … (is a long time)" features whisper-singing reminiscent of Billie Eilish, and "Dominic's Interlude" sounds a bit like the Beach Boys. "3am" borrows an electric guitar tone and punk drum sound from emo songs of the early aughts, and the dark and claustrophobic "killing boys" evokes the tune of Matchbox Twenty's "Unwell." There are also excellent features from Alanis Morrissette and BTS's Suga. This abundance of tributes and guests isn't a flaw; if anything, it's a flex. Halsey is showing us that she can become anything or anyone.
That makes her determination to strip back every element of persona even more admirable. In her introduction to the album, Halsey says, "There's an ancient saying that you have three faces. The first one, you broadcast to the world. The second, you show to those closest to you. And the last one, you never show to anyone."
For her, "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 explicit 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."
True to her word, these songs are windows into Halsey's secret self, the one that hides far below the skin, the one that's never palatable enough to show itself to others. The third-face we meet on Manic is full of self-doubt and self-loathing, constantly grappling with her desire to be loved and her lack of love for herself. She wants to be everything, but at the end of every wild night she feels like nothing, so she searches for fulfillment in everyone around her, dancing around the hole in her own chest. That's a sentiment that appears often; it's especially prominent on "I HATE EVERYBODY," which features zingers like, "If I can make you love me, maybe I can make me love me."
Even though she occasionally risks falling into the realm of triteness and cliche, Halsey often throws in a surprising metaphor or a fragment of weird poetry to knock the listener off-guard. "I'm feeling like a scaly thing / wrapped around my master," she says in "I HATE EVERYBODY," a vivid description of the visceral, physical shapes that suffering can take. A lot of Manic is about the internal world—blood under the skin, spiderwebs in the face—and these surreal details function like secret doors, letting you into abstract feelings, leading down strange passageways.
Maybe that was always the point. The album is an excavation, and Halsey is figuratively tearing open her chest and offering her guts to the world.
In Warsan Shire's poem "The House," the narrator traces her traumas by visualizing her body as a home, full of trapdoors and basement rooms. "Mother says there are locked rooms inside all women," it begins. Later, Shire writes, "I point to my body and say Oh this old thing? No, I just slipped it on." Shire could be talking about the kind of slippery persona that Halsey is desperately trying to discard throughout Manic.
But as it turns out, the more readily you discard your defense mechanisms, the closer you are to those basement rooms. The closing song "929" marks the climax of this search, as it's almost painfully confessional.
But it's also honest about the limits of confession. At the beginning of "929," Halsey tells us that she was born at 9:29 AM on 9/29. At the very end, she mumbles, "I was really born at 9:26. I saw my birth certificate. I'm a liar. I'm a f*cking liar."
So much of Manic revolves around Halsey's desire to find herself in others and to pour herself completely into her art. But what if you can't dissolve yourself in someone else's arms or on the page, no matter how much you search for release?
By the end of the album, Halsey seems to be realizing that the person she really is might actually be a million different people at once. She's a million fragments of glass, as scattered as the stars. Fortunately, she knows how to paint constellations onto the darkness.
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Halsey, Dua Lipa, Tame Impala, and more.
While it's plenty fun to revisit music of the last year (or decade), it's equally exciting to point our focus to future releases.
2020 is coming soon, with no shortage of both indie and major-label releases in the early months to keep our ears busy. Below, we've picked just a few that we can't wait to hear.
The 1975: Notes On A Conditional Form (Interscope/Dirty Hit, 2/21)
After dropping their acclaimed A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships late last year, the modern indie pop legends return this year with their fourth studio album. They've released three songs from it so far, including opener "The 1975," featuring teen climate activist (turned Matty Healy's friend) Greta Thunberg.
The 1975 - People (Official Video) www.youtube.com
Grimes: Miss Anthropocene (4AD, 2/21)
The follow-up to Grimes' 2015 magnum opus, Art Angels is "a concept album about the anthropomorphic goddess of climate change." She's released five singles, most recently "4ÆM."
Grimes – 4ÆM www.youtube.com
Georgia: Seeking Thrills (Domino, 1/10)
British producer Georgia Barnes' second album is due at the beginning of the year. If '80s-indebted synth-pop is up your alley, check out her fantastic single "About Work the Dancefloor."
Georgia - About Work The Dancefloor (Official Video) www.youtube.com
Frances Quinlan: Likewise (Saddle Creek, 1/31)
Frances Quinlan is best known as the lead singer of Philadelphia indie rockers Hop Along, but her inimitable voice still packs a punch as a solo act. Her first album under her own name comes out next month. Check out a single from it, "Now That I'm Back."
Frances Quinlan - Now That I'm Back www.youtube.com
Tame Impala: The Slow Rush (Interscope, 2/14)
The Slow Rush is Kevin Parker and company's first album since 2015's instant-classic, Currents. The Australian band has released three singles so far: "Borderline," "It Might Be Time," and "Posthumous Forgiveness."
Tame Impala - Borderline (Audio) www.youtube.com
Halsey: Manic (Capitol, 1/17)
Manic is Halsey's third album. It includes her No. 1 hit "Without Me," as well as features from Alanis Morrisette, Dominic Fike, and Min Yoon-gi of BTS.
Halsey - Without Me www.youtube.com
Beach Slang: The Deadbeat Bang of Heartbreak City (Bridge Nine, 1/10)
Last year, James Alex released the mellowed-out, acoustic-focused Everything Matters But No One Is Listening as Quiet Slang. Now he's back with his full punk band, Beach Slang, with their third studio album. It features Tommy Stinson of the Replacements on bass.'
Beach Slang - Bam Rang Rang www.youtube.com
Kesha: High Road (Kemosabe, 1/10)
After the stream of empowerment anthems that comprised 2017's Rainbow, Kesha is returning to her party-pop roots for her fourth album. Singles "Raising Hell," "My Own Dance," and "Resentment" are out now.
Kesha - Raising Hell (Official Video) ft. Big Freedia www.youtube.com
Mura Masa: Raw Youth Collage (Polydor, 1/17)
Grammy-winning British producer Mura Masa's second record is on the horizon. It features guest vocals from pop darling Clairo, idiosyncratic rapper slowthai, lo-fi R&B upstart Tirzah, and more.
Mura Masa, Clairo - I Don't Think I Can Do This Again (Official Video) www.youtube.com
Bombay Bicycle Club: Everything Else Has Gone Wrong (Island, 1/17)
After taking some time off, London indie pop band Bombay Bicycle Club are back with their first new album since 2013. So far, you can hear "Eat, Sleep, Wake (Nothing But You)," "Racing Stripes," and the album's title track. Read our interview with bassist Ed Nash about the band's return.
Bombay Bicycle Club - Racing Stripes www.youtube.com
Okay Kaya: Watch This Liquid Pour Itself (Jagjaguwar, 1/24)
Norweigan singer-songwriter Okay Kaya's second album is out soon, intertwining her themes of melancholy and anxiety into dark, eerie pop. She's released three singles so far: "Ascend and Try Again," "Baby Little Tween," and "Asexual Wellbeing."
Okay Kaya - Ascend and Try Again www.youtube.com
Wolf Parade: Thin Mind (Sub Pop, 1/24)
Indie rock stalwarts Wolf Parade are back with their fifth album, their first since departure of multi-instrumentalist Dante DeCaro. They've already released two songs from it, "Forest Green" and "Against the Day."
Wolf Parade - Forest Green [LYRIC VIDEO] www.youtube.com
Andy Shauf: The Neon Skyline (Anti-, 1/24)
Canadian singer-songwriter Andy Shauf is soon releasing his sixth solo album. The singles "Things I Do" and "Try Again" are out now.
Andy Shauf - "Try Again" www.youtube.com
Dua Lipa: Future Nostalgia (Warner, TBA)
Dua Lipa's second studio album doesn't have a set release date, but we know it's coming in early 2020. If the two lead singles so far—"Don't Start Now" and "Future Nostalgia"—are any indication, it won't be a disappointment.
Dua Lipa - Don't Start Now (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com
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