In Get Literary’s brand-new blog series Track by Track, we’ll be doing deep dives into buzzworthy music albums and pairing our favorite tracks with books that have the same vibe. Halsey’s brilliant album Manic seemed like the perfect place to start, and we hope you’ll agree. For an enhanced reading experience, we recommend playing the whole album while you read each of these five books…
I’ve been a fan of the biracial, bisexual goddess known to her fans as Halsey (and to her family as Ashley) ever since I heard her first album. Earlier this year (yes, it’s still 2020 somehow), Halsey released one of the music industry’s most anticipated albums, her third studio release, titled Manic. From the moment it was announced, fans knew they would be treated to Halsey’s most personal and painful album yet, as she described it as the first album she’s written as herself—Ashley Frangipane.
I’m a firm believer that the first time you hear an album should be front to back and so that’s why I make them that way! Some songs go together. Halves of a whole. so when Manic is out, pls don’t skip ur excited asses to a random song. Just at least not on the first listen 😅— h (@halsey) January 15, 2020
When Manic dropped, Halsey took to Twitter to implore her fans to listen to this album in particular from top to bottom, front to back—the way you would a story. It feels especially appropriate to do this now, in a time when we’re leaning harder into stories to bring us joy and, frankly, even a distraction. As I relistened to Manic for what felt like the millionth time, I thought, what better way to honor Halsey’s story album than to pair some of the tracks with books that share similar themes. Ultimately, Manic is a story about pain. But it’s also one that shows how that pain and self-loathing and revenge can be remade into strength. Take a listen to Manic, and then check out these 5 reads!
Update: Halsey has announced her first book! I Would Leave Me If I Could, a poetry collection publishing on November 10, 2020, will feature “never-before-seen poetry of longing, love, and the nuances of bipolar disorder.” Since this would make another excellent companion to her music, we’ve added the book to the list below.