Billie Eilish has risen to fame in a very short time, quickly coming to the forefront of the mainstream music scene without releasing a full album or compromising her sound. Her haunting voice and chords are a staple in the new album, which quickly became the most pre-added album ever on Apple Music before its release March 29.
The 17-year-old has been known for her sad lyrics and echoing acoustics, but as she has come into her own sound she has started to play with deep pop sounds and more powerful bass lines. The album “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP WHERE DO WE GO” is a mouthful of a title, but the lyrics tell the haunting story of heartbreak and pain — without completely ridding Eilish of her teenage goofiness and excitement for her first album.
The album starts off with the intro track “!!!!!!!” where there are some loud slurping sounds and a pop accompanied by giggles and Eilish saying “I have taken off my Invisalign and this is the album!” This is immediately followed by the track “bad guy,” which holds some of the deepest bass beats in the album other than “you should see me in a crown.”
The song “bad guy” is also the most whimsical and catchy choral beat, yet the ending takes a dark twist both in the lyrics and instrumentation. This song is probably the crown jewel of the album in that it truly shows who Eilish is as an artist, but also what the album is trying to convey. “I do what I want when I’m wanting to / My soul? So cynical,” is a general summation of the album. She’s tough and cynical, which can lead to her being sad and feeling rebuffed by those she wants.
The songs “when the party’s over,” “8” and “wish you were gay” both deal with the pain she feels after being rebuffed by the boy she is in love with. She doesn’t know what she is doing wrong, or why the boy leaves — only that he does, and there is no stopping him. This is almost in direct contrast to “bad guy” and “you should see me in a crown,” where the boy seems to not get enough of Eilish and keeps coming back to her. “my strange addiction,” however, sees Eilish coming to terms with her not having the boy that she wants and getting over it.
However, not every song is about twisted love and heartbreak. “xanny” is a beautiful song that deals with recreational drug use, and Eilish’s aversion to it. Sparse acoustic music gives the song a haunting vibe as she softly sings about the people around her struggling with addiction. “all good girls go to hell” is another song that splits away from this theme of heartbreak and talks more about her split from religion.
These songs also come back to the idea that Eilish is a young artist and relatively new to the music industry. At the end of “all good girls go to hell,” Eilish hums to the guitar riff and laughs as she says “I cannot do this snowflake!” These hums and giggles are ever present in the album, reminding listeners that this isn’t a battle-scarred and heartbroken woman, but rather still an excited and young teenager.
The album is a perfect debut for Eilish to show her talent to the world. Her vocals and her lyrics sing of heartbreak, which is a bold choice for the summer since most songs revolve around love and not sadness. However, as this album shows, Billie Eilish changes for no one — and its sales show that no one wants her to change either.