“Ashley” is the 1st track from Halsey’s 2020 album ‘Manic.’ To kick off the album, Halsey uses an introspective track, but the theme runs throughout the album. Let us dig further into the meaning of this song.
Halsey released her third studio album ‘Manic‘ on January 17, 2020. The album was preceded by its singles such as “Clementine,” “Graveyard,” “You Should Be Sad,” “Without Me,” and “Finally // beautiful stranger.” The album also features SUGA of the KPOP boyband BTS.
Ashley Nicolette Frangipane is Halsey’s birth name. Using her real name as the first song of the album is a safe spot as per the singer. “Starting the album with my real name is a comfortable entry point for people, like saying, ‘Hey, I’m still here, but I’m going to take you down on a different journey right now.’ A lot of this album was written as I became more aware of my mortality. Sometimes I’m on top of the world and I’ve never felt better in my life. Other days I’m like, ‘If I keep doing this, I’m going to die.’ This song is an introduction and a warning: It’s saying, ‘Here’s this album that I had to cut myself open to make, and will continue to cut myself open to tour, promote, and explain, but I don’t know how many more of these you’re going to get’” says Halsey via Apple Music.
Listen to “Ashley” by Halsey
Halsey reflects on her journey so far in the beginning to this song and the album. She built the road she travelled so far, and it is unclear if she is a hundred per cent happy with it. In the final song of the album, titled “929,” Halsey admits that she has a long way to go for salvation.
Through music and in personal life, Halsey wants to achieve something. Something meaningful and real. She doesn’t want to just walk into the hype and walk out with a bag of money. She knows that each passing day is a step towards her mortal destination. But she wants to be on a path to make this journey fruitful, for her, for the society and for everybody else.
Halsey only wants to leave behind her legacy when she passes on to the afterlife. And this legacy, she hopes to make it fruitful to her and everyone else.
The second verse of the song is Halsey relapsing of the courage to change herself and her behaviour. She holds some strong strings to the “old ghost town” of her past. The skeletons in her closet just keep on dragging her back into the closet. She keeps on changing her mind about changing herself. This is not exclusively a healthy state of mind. You change from ‘bad’ to ‘good’ to ‘bad’ again. This kind of mental state could disintegrate someone from the inside.
This audio clip has been borrowed from the 2004 movie ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,’ which Halsey has confessed to be one of her favourites. In the movie, Kate Winslet plays a role by the name ‘clementine’ which also paved inspiration for Halsey’s single by the same name.
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Check out the complete lyrics and further song meaning breakdown on Genius.