Arguably, there’s no artist earning as much hype as Billie Eilish at the moment. Despite still being only 17, the singer/songwriter has amassed a stunningly huge following, vast mainstream success, and become somewhat of an icon for alternative pop, and all that without dropping a full-length record, until now.
Eilish‘s first record, ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’, sees her enter her most playful, dark, and creative mode yet. Where her first release, 2017 EP ‘Don’t Smile At Me’, showed true promise, it’s safe to say that here signs show that potential is being greatly fulfilled.
Even in the singles pre-released – my word, do we have some great pop hits. ‘Bad Guy’, with its subtle plodding melody and hugely addictive groove, is without a doubt one of Eilish‘s best tracks to date. Then you’ve got the disturbed-meets-party-vibes nature of ‘Bury A Friend’ with its sludgy textures, or the sheer techy-power of ‘You Should See Me In A Crown’ and its mammoth chorus, already teasing her diverse range of musicality.
Eilish‘s visuals and aesthetics are clearly an important addition to the music, continuing to play on dark sounds and ideas (take a brief look at any of her videos for proof), while the restive quality only makes her music all the more likeable. Be it muted, ASMR-like vocals that come either delicately whispered, soaring, child-like (‘8’) and hell-bound (‘All The Good Girls Go To Hell’), or the range of instruments, from synths, ukuleles and pop-culture samples, producing quite the diverse sound bank of ideas.
Elsewhere, tracks like ‘All The Good Girls Go To Hell’ and ‘My Strange Addiction’ toy with deranged sounds, further emphasising Eilish‘s willingness to sonically explore new avenues. Some critics have (perhaps unfairly) labelled her work as maybe too minimalist or sparse, yet what may be simplistic on the surface, is darkly manipulated with carefully placed alternative elements to create a signature style of pop that nobody else is doing right now, and for that, her originality deserves tremendous credit.
Granted, maybe some of these tracks do perhaps play it a tad too safe in terms of development and direction, but they’re solid pop songs, even if they’re not all that ambitious beyond being uncharacteristically bleak for the genre. Truth is, in the world of pop, Eilish is really doing something quite fresh here.
It really seems like the world is falling to their knees in awe of Billie Eilish, and at this rate, she’s got the rest of it at her feet.