It’s not easy to compare Billie Ellish to many other artists. One could say she’s Lana Del Rey meets Melanie Martinez meets Lorde meets the monster under your bed. Her debut album ‘When we all fall asleep where do we go’ was something different to what we have seen from other artists that started out young. It was less Britney pigtails and more chains and baggy trousers. Her disruptive sound and eerie vocals were a brave beginning for the, at the time, 17 year old star.
It all really took shape in 2016, when Billie was just 14, and her Soundcloud upload ‘Ocean Eyes’ went viral. She then developed that sound with brother Finneas O’Connel, from her humble teenage bedroom, ultimately boosting it up the sincerity scale.
The album begins on a youthful note, her intro titled ‘!!!!!!!’ is all giggles, slurps, and the taking out of invisalign. Then snap to the first official, and most popular, track ‘Bad Guy’. Eilish introduces herself as ‘that bad type / make your mamma sad type’. She goes on with the self assessment , noting ‘Don’t say thank you or please / I do what I want when I’m wanting to / My soul so cynical.’ She’s not like other artists and she wants you to know.
Following the heartfelt and frank 2017 track ‘idontwannabeyouanymore’ the album takes a slightly softer tone later on. Tracks 6 and 7, ‘I wish you were gay ‘ and ‘when the party’s over’ show a different side to Eilish, one that’s more personal and uncensored. ‘I’m coming home and I’m on my own / I could lie and say I like it like that’ offers more resonating lyrics which are undoubtedly more appreciated when you compare her with her young, Disney made, counterparts. Of course ‘Party in the USA’ is a hit but ‘When the party’s over’ shows a level of musical maturity that hasn’t been seen an awful lot.
Billie’s personal life isn’t just illustrated through after party sadness, on track 9 ‘My Strange Addiction’ she intertwines drug culture with pop culture. The lyrics ‘ Deadly fever, please don’t ever break / Be my reliever, ’cause I don’t self medicate’. Lyrically mirroring track 3 ‘xanny’, she talks about the futility of drug use and the strange hype behind it.
The song is laced with audio clips from NBC hit ‘The Office, more specifically, ‘Threat Level Midnight’ possibly one of the strangest episodes of the show. Office regional manager Michael Scott debuts his first ever homemade movie which took ten years of writing, shooting, re-shooting, and editing. The clips consist of his fellow employees reviewing and praising his creativity and extremely exaggerated efforts. Billie later on met with Scott’s sidekick Dwight K. Schrute played by Rainn Wilson, for a game of Office trivia.
It’s an album of whimsy and weird and if you still don’t know what I mean, it’s worth watching the music video for ‘You should see me in a crown’.
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