She is 17 years-old. She sings with a breathy, moaning voice. She has blue hair (for now) and her songs combined have more than a billion streams.
She’s Billie Eilish, who just released her first full-length album titled “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” It is an album of tortured love, anxiety, fear, depression and the occasional threat of suicide.
“I wanna end me/I wanna, I wanna, I wanna end me/I wanna, I wanna, I wanna,” sings Eilish in “Bury a Friend.”
I hope she’s seeing a psychiatrist.
Eilish and her brother, Finneas O’Connell, co-wrote the lyrics in this album. Coming from the minds of a 21 year old and a 17 year old, these lyrics are mature and weighty, implying old-if-not-ancient souls. Compared to other quality contemporary lyrics, however, one finds nothing remarkable.
“Baby, I don’t feel so good/Six words you never understood/I’ll never let you go/Five words you’ll never say (aw)/I laugh alone like nothing’s wrong/Four days has never felt so long/If three’s a crowd and two was us/One slipped away,” she sings in “Wish you were Gay.” Witty, but routine.
However, by applying feminist literary theory to “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” latent themes related to #metoo become manifest.
For instance, in “All the Good Girls Go to Hell,” Eilish sings “Look at you needing me/You know I’m not your friend without some greenery/Walk in wearing fetters/Peter should know better/Your cover up is caving in/Man is such a fool/Why are we saving him?/Poisoning themselves now/Begging for our help, wow!”
In nine lines she is artistically rebuking the patriarchal order of a heterosexual relationship: an unaccountable, sexually unrestrained male dominates a quasi-enslaved woman who must maintain the relationship despite the man’s infidelity.
Along the same lines, in “When the Party’s Over,” she sings, “Don’t you know I’m no good for you?/I’ve learned to lose, you can’t afford to/Tore my shirt to stop you bleedin’/But nothin’ ever stops you leavin’/Quiet when I’m coming home and I’m on my own/I could lie, say I like it like that, like it like that/I could lie, say I like it like that, like it like that.”
“When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” consists of 14 songs and provides almost 45 minutes of listening. According to data compiled from Spotify, the most-streamed songs are “When the Party’s Over,” “Bury a Friend,” “You Should See Me in A Crown” and “Bad Guy.”
YouTube undoubtedly contributes to Eilish’s popularity. “Bad Guy,” “You Should See Me in A Crown,” “Bury a Friend” and “When the Party’s Over” all have experimental music videos of unearthly and beautiful aesthetics that accompany the songs.
The music video for “When the Party’s Over,” in which a blue-haired Eilish gushes tears of ink, has earned over 200 million views in five months.
“When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” is an original recording, remarkable for the most part due to the young age of its creator. It appears to be on the fast-track for legendary status. The music videos, however, constitute the apotheosis of the album. Hopefully, Eilish will release more.