Halsey’s new single, ‘Graveyard,’ is her most authentic song yet

Song hints upcoming album ‘Manic’ will take on an entirely different tone from her previous ones


Kelli Hayden

By Joanna Buoniconti, Collegian Columnist

Halsey has been teasing her fans with new music for months and on Sept. 13, the first single from her upcoming album “Manic” was released. In the days leading up to the release of “Graveyard”, Halsey was posting pictures displaying her mixture of both quirkiness and melancholy. These two contrasting sides of her personality are deliberately illustrated to highlight the next chapter in her musical career.

Two days before releasing the single, Halsey debuted “Graveyard” at Rihanna’s Savage xFenty fashion show. Halsey, widely known as a powerhouse singer, did not disappoint in the slightest. She started off alone at the highest part of the stage, crooning to the audience the vulnerable opening lines of the song: “It’s crazy when / the thing you love the most is the detriment / and let that sink in.” Throughout the performance, Halsey interacted with several of the dancers in sultry exchanges, only for her to abruptly dismiss them to have them later come crawling back to her. It was a very accurate and intense performance which portrayed a toxic relationship along with a recognition of one’s own self-worth. In a tweet posted after the show, she described the experience as an “incredible event that she was honored to be a part of.”

Since Halsey is an extraordinary and poetic songwriter, lyrically this is unequivocally one of her strongest works. The chorus details a tumultuous relationship where she would follow someone into the depths of their own darkness, even at her own demise. “I know when you go down all your darkest roads / I woulda followed all the way to the graveyard / Oh, ‘cause I keep diggin’ myself down deeper / I won’t stop ‘til I get where you are.” The heart of the song addresses knowing one’s own value and to know when to back away from a relationship.

For those who are unfamiliar with the singer, they might be surprised to find out that “Halsey” isn’t her real name. It’s Ashley Nicolette Frangipane. In past interviews, Halsey described the need to come up with a new identity for herself stemmed from viewing Ashley as someone who was emotionally fragile and awkward. Halsey represented a more desirable alter ego; she was someone who demanded a stronger stage presence. The name “Halsey” does contain pertinent significance to the singer. Not only is it an anagram of her real name Ashley, but also it pertains to the street name where she resided when she was first discovered, Halsey Street in Brooklyn, New York.

The cover art for “Graveyard” represents her two separate personas. There is a line connecting two points, the “A” and “H”. These two points presumably allude to “Ashley” and “Halsey.” Since the song’s debut, Halsey has changed her cover photo on Twitter to one saying, “Hi, my name is Ashley. It’s nice to meet you,” five times; each time the writing getting progressively blurrier. Halsey is known as someone who never adheres to the rules when it comes to making music, so this very well could be Halsey’s own unique way of introducing Ashley on this album and coming to terms with that part of her identity.

Throughout her career, Halsey has been very open about advocating for women’s rights.The morning after the single’s release, she sat down for a candid interview with a radio station in Nashville, in which, she discusses her reasoning for releasing her past albums each in their own unique style. She discussed how she had to project her emotions through a story because she was criticized as being “hysterical” and “manic” whenever she expressed emotion; labels that often accompany both female musicians and those diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She further explains how she’s at a point in her career where she can finally own her emotions and be vulnerable in a way that she has never been before. “Graveyard” is by far her most genuine and poignant piece of work.

Halsey is known for her unique ability to not limit herself into any genre or category in the music industry. Her recent singles illustrate her capability to flawlessly switch from pop to rock and then hip-hop while still maintaining a unique sound. Whatever the next album holds, with her track record, it’s safe to say expect the unexpected.

Joanna Buoniconti can be reached at [email protected]