“When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” is Billie Eilish’s debut  album. Eilish has been making music with her brother, Finneas, since she  was 14. The now 17-year-old is making major waves in the music world,  currently being the 12th most streamed artist on Spotify worldwide. Her  album has become the second most purchased album of 2019 a week after  its release.

Beautifully haunting sound

Eilish is known for her sad style, with songs on the album like “when  the party’s over” and “listen before i go” sticking to her brand. She  did change her style a bit for her studio debut, with songs like “bad  guy” having a more upbeat sound, clearly being very influenced by  EDM-style rhythms and beats. In theory, a happier song from Eilish  sounds like a terrible idea, but she manages to make it work very well.  In fact, her more upbeat songs stand out far more than her usual  angst-driven songs, due to their ambition. Eilish may have struck gold  in her mix of upbeat rhythms and darker underlying themes.

Eilish’s voice is beautiful yet creepy. She has been describing her  album as both a dream and a nightmare, and her voice wonderfully  reflects that. Eilish has a wonderful balance with her falsetto and the  bass of the songs. She also seems to have mastered the effect of  whispering in a song when the music gets cut. She even growls some of  her lyrics in “all the good girls go to hell” and the song still manages  to be beautiful. Her creepy lyrics, mixed with her delicate voice, give  the listener a combination that always keeps them on their toes.

From the scarn to scorn

Overall, the lyrics seem to focus on the themes of love and death,  which is a strange combination, but Eilish makes it work. Eilish’s  songwriting is very pessimistic. Her songs about love are more forlorn,  more concerned with love lost or a love that she will never have. It’s  an interesting twist on the standard bubblegum pop themes of falling in  love. In this Ariana Grande-driven era of pop music, a large theme in  the music world has become self-love. Eilish puts her own spin on this  with “you should see me in a crown.” While the song is about Eilish  feeling that she is deserving of being a queen, it also appears she has  intentions on becoming a tyrant. Eilish is completely aware of this in  the song, talking about forcing her subjects to bow to her and even  killing them. It seems like the song is more about using her negative  qualities instead of embracing her more positive traits, which is  practically the opposite of what most pop artists are doing currently.

Eilish also had several jokes and references scattered throughout her  album. She starts the album with an introduction where she makes a joke  about taking out her Invisalign. In her song “my strange addiction,”  clips from The Office play throughout. Eilish uses the  nostalgia of The Office fans by referencing Michael Scott’s movie and  his dance “the scarn.” Eilish even titled one of her songs “ilomilo,” of  which she revealed that the song is based on a video game that she used  to love as a kid. It’s very impressive to see someone able to combine  nostalgia with such dark themes and still be so successful.

The social media generation

Eilish’s music seems to be very driven by mobile devices. Several of  her tracks use a 3D audio effect, which makes it feel as if the song is  moving around you as you listen with headphones. As cool as that can be,  it also means that they don’t have the same effect if you’re not using  headphones. For example, the usage of this effect causes the song  “xanny” to fall a bit flat without headphones. It appears the song is  only made the way it is to add more of this effect, but without being  very effective. While the lyrics of the song are very meaningful and  help to show Eilish’s struggle being in the spotlight and how drugs are  often around, the heavy bass and effects distract from the otherwise  wonderful message. The song would have been better off if she allowed it  to speak for itself, instead of adding flashy effects that distract  from the words. Her other songs that use this effect are far more  successful because even without headphones the songs remain beautiful.

Eilish does a lot of content with the intention of people viewing her  work on their phones. Several of her music videos have been made  specifically for phones to be viewed on IGTV. Considering she is only  17, it makes sense for her to use social media in this way because she  has really grown up with it. There is a risk there that some of her  older fans who don’t enjoy using their phones as much may be pushed away  by this. It’s interesting to see how her social media presence has  truly shaped her album and changed the ways it can be viewed. She uses  trends on social media to help her with her songs. The 3D audio effect  she uses has multiple YouTube channels dedicated to editing songs to use  it. She also used The Office for one of her songs, an  extremely praised show on the internet. She is very skilled in finding  what people like on social media and taking advantage of it for her  music.

Top Tracks:

bad guy

bury a friend

listen before i go

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Featured Image: Spin

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