As a teenager, I was beleaguered and fascinated by night terrors, sleep paralysis, and lucid dreams.
Billie Eilish strikes me as one who is in a complicated relationship with her subconscious. A teenager who grew fond of her nightmares, and seeks to express the revelation of teen horror through the experimentalism in her songs.
The overtly awkward introvert who favors chilling melodies, moody beats, creepy videos, and a teasing crudeness à la Tyler, The Creator, Now 17, the Los Angeles native—who was homeschooled along with her brother and co-writer, Finneas O’Connell— is undoubtedly the youngest, perfect pop star of 2019.
Born — Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell, the pop star sings with a whispery, slurring voice which she thins out at times. Her collaborative approach with her older brother Finneas O’Connell who co-writes and produces her songs gives her songs a dark pop feel usually centered around fictional characters. She’s often seen in baggy, ill-fitting clothes which come off as a ‘defence mechanism’ to avoid body shaming remarks and a ‘‘I’m different from a lot of people’’ style.
I first heard Eilish sing when I visited a friend and he played ‘‘Ocean eyes’’. I instantly halted at the sound of her voice, it was as if she was in my head, telling me things I needed to hear. Her voice has this mix of Amy Winehouse and Lana Del Rey dishing relatable and interesting conversational lyrics. On ‘‘Everything I ever wanted’’ her vocals are ethereal and presented as story telling. Her lyrics are such that they try to say stuff that doesn’t have to be that deep, but said deeper, in a certain way that makes sense, but like she hasn’t really thought about.
“She’s a letter bomb in a Christmas greetings card. ’’ as described by a colleague.
Eilish is most known for her 2019 single “Bad Guy”, which topped the Billboard Hot 100. She has been nominated for six Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist. She is the youngest artist ever to have been nominated for the Big Four Grammy Awards.
Billie Eilish recently released debut album, ‘‘When we all fall asleep, where do we go?’’ presents a melancholy investigation of all the dark and mysterious spaces that linger in the back of our minds. Sinister dance beats unfold into chattering dialogue from The Office on “my strange addiction,” and whispering vocals are laid over deliberately blown-out bass on “xanny.” ‘‘It’s not that the album is a bad dream, it’s just…surreal.’’ she told Beats 1 host Zane Lowe in an interview. ‘‘This is my child,’’ she says, ‘‘and you get to hold it while it throws up on you.’’
The album – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? was praised by music critics for its subject matter, songwriting, cohesion and Eilish’s vocal delivery. It was also a commercial success, topping charts in numerous countries including in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Eilish also won the Album of the Year and (along with her brother Finneas) the Songwriter of the Year awards, for “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?”, Apple Music most played album of the year, with more than a billion streams.
On what the album speaks of, she explains in the editors note, ‘‘The album isn’t me saying, ‘I dreamed that’—it’s the feeling.” There’s a lot of lying on purpose in the album. Not like the way rappers lie, but in character creation out of one’s self. In the song ‘‘8’’ most listeners go, ‘‘oh poor Billie, she’s hurt.’’ But really, she’s just been a dickhead for a minute and the way she could deal with it is put herself in the persons place.
I understand this perspective. I can relate to a young mind, doused in horrific experiences of sadness, depression, dreams so real they choke you up when you get to live them. My fondness for the talented Billie is, as a melancholy, having depression sort of controlling almost everything in her life; in dealing with her fame and exposure, she hasn’t shied away from songs about self-loathing, insecurity, and frustration. Because you’re bound to feel that way, for sure.
I believe she understands, When you’ve supplied empathy for people, you’ve achieved something in music. She’s my perfect pop star of 2019.