The Billie Eilish Experience

The cover of Billie Eilish's new album, 'when we all fall asleep, where do we go?'

Billie Eilish

The cover of Billie Eilish's new album, 'when we all fall asleep, where do we go?'

Alden Wiygul, Staff Writer

Billie Eilish, age 17, has been a rising music star for a few years now. In 2016, she blew up with her first single, “Ocean Eyes” and has quickly amassed thousands of fans. Now all of those fans are going wild after Eilish released her debut album on March 29, “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP WHERE DO WE GO,” which has become a rapid success and is now heading to be the No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 charts.

Several times throughout her career, Eilish has teamed up with Spotify to create music. Whether it is a playlist or a music video, all of the collaborations have brought massive profits to both Billie and Spotify. The most iconic before this was their collaboration on one of the first vertical music videos that Spotify produced. This album, however, is their biggest collaboration yet as they teamed up to create “The Billie Eilish Experience.” This is a sensory masterpiece as they combine Billie’s haunting visuals with her stunning vocals to produce a playlist that is more like a story.

Each song is connected to a moving image. It is either a snippet from her music videos for her main five songs on the album– “bad guy”, “you should see me in a crown,” “wish you were gay,” “when the party’s over” and “bury a friend”– or an artistic cartoon of her for the rest. This elevates her music as the images provide a view into her personal feelings as she hears the song and not just what the listener interprets it as.

Billie Eilish
Image from Billie’s new music video for “bad guy.”

The playlist starts off with an introduction video welcoming her fans. After all the songs on the album, the playlist is then ended by the horizontal music videos for her main 5 songs.

The first song on the album is “!!!!!!!.” It is not a song at all, however. It is just a clip of her talking about her Invisalign. While this seems random, it establishes her personality and how much fun she had creating the album. This same sharp wit is not present in many of her more serious songs, but she makes sure to communicate depth when she can, like in some of her videos. It is also present in the image for the video of her as a devil dressed in Gucci with an “L” on her forehead.

The next song is “bad guy.” It is the only main song that was not released as a single before the album and is definitely my favorite of the new material. The beat is fun and catchy with the lyrics providing a darker undertone. The clip shone with the song is a dark red snippet of her music video for it (reflecting the lyrics), but the music video itself is more playful with her acting crazy (reflecting the beat).

“Xanny” is up next with a more melancholy tone, interrupted by flashes of the loud beats and rough voice editing that is in more of her faster pace songs, as she describes partying. This is reflective of how many describe life as a star.

Already infamous, “you should see me in a crown” shows images of tarantulas crawling out of Billie’s mouth. This song was the first to show the mood of the album as she changes her sound and is represented best as she says “Fell for these Ocean Eyes,” which is a reference to her first single.

There is more imagery of her as a demon, but also now as an angel in the next song “all the good girls go to hell.” Despite the dark lyrics, the song has a fun and playful tune that sounds more reflective of the 90’s and 2000’s as Billie jokes through the darkness.

“Wish you were gay” was released a few weeks before the album, and has been very controversial as many call out the song for being homophobic. Despite the mixed reviews, it remains a main song on the album, and it does have clever lyrics as Billie uses an allusion to a 12 step program as a way to count down throughout the song.

The next song, “when the party’s over,” is one of Billie’s slowest as she sings of a painful love that left. Her stunning vocals along with the beautifully haunting imagery of her crying black tears leads to this being perhaps the most emotional on the album. Even though it was written by her brother, Billie is able to convey the turmoil in the lyrics through her voice.

Takashi Murakami
Art used as the cover for new song “8.”

“8” starts with a different tone than Billie’s pure vocals or her dark gravely autotune. It is almost a child’s voice, and it shows a purer and more childlike side that Billie has hidden. This is backed up by the cartoon of a smiling face breaking out of her more serious one.  

“My strange addiction” is the most iconic song on the album as it samples snippets of “The Office” episode where they watch Michael’s spy movie. It is combined with the the tune from “The Office” scene it is referencing. Normally, the addiction Billie refers to could be construed to mean something darker, but this makes it clear Billie’s addiction is merely “The Office.”

No Billie, I haven’t done that dance since my wife died.”

— Michael Scott

The next is another one of my favorites that was released before the album: “bury a friend.” Its dark tones are enough to put chills down anyone’s back, but combined with the unsettling music video, it creates a mini horror movie that is fascinating and an amazing production.

From the remaining beats of “bury a friend,” “ilomilo” is born. It references the previous buried friends as it livens up the beat and a mysterious vibe with its choice of background music. The notes are questioning and it serves to make the song almost feel otherworldly.

“Listen before I go” goes back to the slower paced tunes as Billie seems to be saying goodbye before she dies. Its connection with the previous songs stories is then alluded too with the ending sounds of police sirens coming closer.

With a five minute emotional ride, Billie certainly says what she means in “I love you.” She again talks of love that she does not want, and the song is combined with another image of her as a demon. This time, however, her demonic visage is crying. The song is connected subtly to the ones before it as very quietly in the background there is the sound of the police talking on the radio.

The last song on the album is aptly named “goodbye.” Snippets of some of the songs on the album are combined as she gives a send off to the listener. It is haunting and is accompanied by a dark cartoon of her with sharp teeth. This is the perfect end to her fresh, darker sound.

The album is complex, and, as always, Billie Eilish’s vocals contribute to the beautifully written songs to make them extraordinary. Her anti-pop style lends something needed to the growing pop culture. She represents a different form of female singer that is not sexualized or scrutinized for things beyond her music. Her debut album is just her beginning.

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