Billie Eilish Music Review

Simon Sweeney, Editor-In-Chief

I was born on December 11, 2000.

I wrote a song or two, performed it with my band, and put it on YouTube. It has amassed somewhere around 200 views, last I checked. I am fairly proud of this.

Billie Eilish was born on December 18, 2001.

Billie Eilish’s most popular song, “Lovely” (with R&B popular darling Khalid), has, as of this writing, a little more than 400 million streams on Spotify.

Her most recently released track, “Bury a Friend,” theoretically the object of this review, has more than 100 million, less than a month removed from its January 30th release.

It helps to cushion my bitterness at these facts, of course, that she deserves it. Eilish is an extremely interesting rising voice in pop, infusing it with a darkness¹ that’s been explored to critical success in underground channels by Purity Ring and their ilk and briefly touched on (see: Taylor Swift’s Reputation) by established pop stars, but is still waiting for a defining document on the national level. When We All Fall Asleep, if “Bury a Friend” is an indicator, could conceivably serve as exactly this sort of mission statement.

“Bury a Friend” is excellent. It opens (following a thankfully short, if unnecessary, “Billie” tag) with a thrumming drumbeat, sounding like an almost more warped, crushed down 808s and Heartbreak. The rhythm pulses like a heart that beats in triplets, fluctuating gently as the song progresses. The progression itself is a very slow burn; there’s no big chorus, but that serves Eilish very well. She avoids falling into the trap that caught Swift––failing to choose between the desire of a new edge and the former stylings of out-and-out pop stardom, ending up in a sort of perpetual center turn lane, never deciding where she wants to go––and at the same time drawing closer to breaking free of the discount-bin-Lorde label that she emblemized on last year’s “When the Party’s Over” (still a pretty good song).

In the time that has elapsed from when I began writing this article to when I began writing this paragraph––longer than I’d like to pretend––Eilish released a second single from When We All Fall Asleep: “Wish You Were Gay.” It’s not as good as “Bury a Friend,” and it’s received some flak for the lyrical content (you can, hopefully, figure out why), but I remain excited. Eilish is a vital voice, and if she’s able to avoid the tendency to rip off Lorde, a fresh one and an exciting one to hear more from. I’d like to find out Where Do We Go.

  1.  Just take a look at the cover, and heck, the title, of Eilish’s forthcoming debut full length When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, which seems a bit like a blacked out version of The 1975’s alternately mocked and revered I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it.