'When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?'

October 15, 2019

Title: “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”

Artist: Billie Eilish

Release date: 2019

Favorite track: “bury a friend”

 

This isn’t a Halloween album, but this cover seems creepy enough.

I’ve also been looking for an excuse to follow up on Billie Eilish’s radio hits, “bad guy” and “when the party’s over.” Now that I have, it’s clear Eilish is here to turn things upside down — seriously.

The breathy pop star not only wears oversize clothing and dyes her roots lime green, but also performed her edgy, twisted track, “bad guy,” in an upside down box on "Saturday Night Live." And somehow the 17-year-old always makes cool seem effortless.

Something I find especially compelling and endearing is she has a close relationship with Finneas, her brother and songwriting-producing partner. In interviews, they exude a deep love and mature support for each other.

Before I delve into this, please know Eilish doesn’t capitalize song titles. Don’t ask me why.

MUSIC

It’s no surprise “bad guy” was a hit.

It’s a little sinister, but really catchy. Just thinking of the song title, I can hear Eilish in my head purring, “I’m the bad guy.” The music has a deep bass for a modern flair, but mostly sounds suspiciously like the soundtrack to an old James Bond or other spy film.

 

I’m that bad type

Make your mama sad type

Make your girlfriend mad tight

Might seduce your dad type

—“bad guy”

 

Unless it’s a metaphor, Eilish addresses Xanax pretty straightforwardly in the lyrics of “xanny,” saying, “I don’t need a xanny to feel better.” It’s a slow-paced, methodical song — borderline Lorde, borderline Fiona Apple.

“Bad guy” and “when the party’s over” express Eilish’s two styles. One is punchy, bass-heavy and avant-garde, and the other is soft and poetic.

“You should see me in a crown” is a blend of her two styles. It’s a cool song that — because of its theme and sound — reminds me of Lorde’s “Royals.”

“All the good girls go to hell” is dark, but like many of Eilish’s lyrics, alludes to her having power. The lyrics are always intriguing knowing she co-writes the songs with her brother.

 

All the good girls go to hell

‘Cause even God herself has enemies

And once the water starts to rise

And heaven’s out of sight

She’ll want the devil on her team

— “all good girls to hell”

 

She returns to her singer-songwriter style in “wish you were gay.” I, like another writer I saw, immediately thought of Katy Perry’s lesser known, but still semi known “Ur so Gay.”

“When the party’s over” quickly became a popular cover song, and it’s honestly fun to sing. Because of the soft piano-centric music and her quiet vocals, it’s easily the most raw, emotional track on the album. I actually prefer the huskier, soulful aspect of Eilish’s voice.

“8” also reveals her softer side.

“My strange addiction” has a sultry sound and the same cryptic lyrical style as “bad guy,” but with dialogue interwoven throughout. This album has a few of these well-placed interludes.

The “bury a friend” music video is the basis for the haunting photo on the album cover. In the video, 10-plus syringes are injected into Eilish’s back and transform her into an evil creature. It’s certainly morbid. The song, though — featuring an eerie screech and Eilish’s chant-y vocals to a bubblegum pop beat — is where she shines. It’s clear she’s feeling herself.

“Ilomolo” is a welcomed synth-based song with a sweeter connotation than others. Madonna vibes anyone?

The last three songs — “listen before I go,” “i love you” and “goodbye” are all a whole level softer and moodier than the rest of the record. I like the way Eilish coos in “i love you.” It’s a winter type of track.

DESIGN

Eilish definitely perpetuates her borderline Gothic persona with an album cover photo of her looking possessed inside a psychiatric hospital.

Do I think the album title and cover are reflective of this record? Not exactly.

Do I think they are satisfying expressions of creativity? Yeah.
 

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