Billie Eilish Invites Teenage Angst


Courtesy of The Fader

Billie Eilish, singer-songwriter, is a major influence to teenagers. Eilish has taken the world by storm with her alternative, grunge sound.

Ashley Edwards, Photo Editor

Billie Eilish’s second album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go invites listeners into the chaotic, gothic, and daring ramblings of the 17-year-old’s mind. Eilish is known for using her music to delve into all the facets of herself: the quirky, the forlorn, and the beautiful, and did no different with this new album.

The singer has taken over the industry and influenced many teens with her striking “I don’t care” attitude. She swept a generation off their sneakers and took them to a place of glassy, honest, and relatable ballads. From her androgynous, baggy style, to her bored, but edgy attitude, she has been a breath of fresh air from the methodical pop formula.

Most fell in love with her sound when she released the single ‘Ocean Eyes’ at age 14. She released her first album ‘Don’t Smile At Me’ in 2017, gaining more popularity. Eilish gives off the vibe of many iconic indie singers like Lana Del Rey and Lorde, with her faint, crooning voice.

When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go in a nutshell offers quavering tones and frightful bass, all wrapped up in Eilish’s silky voice. The singer is an anomaly herself, both delicate and eerie and used her past of anxiety, night terrors, and lucid dreaming to inspire the album.

The album jumps straight into a prelude named “!!!!!!!” where she proclaims “I have taken out my Invisalign and this is the album,” followed by a goofy cackle. Throughout the album, she includes her eccentricities by weaving ad-libs into the songs. In “my strange addiction” the opening lines are from T.V. show The Office, with reactions from the Dunder Mifflin staff about Michael Scott, boss, and his idiosyncratic dance moves. She then follows the ad-lib with a jumpy but sinister flow during the rest of the song.

After her introduction to the album, Eilish summons us to the second track, ‘bad guy’. A, quite literally, snappy beat over an electronic, bouncy tune with lyrics as daring as she is. With provocative lines describing her as the “make-your-girlfriend-mad type, might-seduce-your-dad type”, she shows her unpredictable, playful side which is also represented in the visuals for the song.

Courtesy of Vevo Music
A shot from the ‘Bad Guy’ music video. Eilish released the video on March 29.

Later, “xanny” dives into the reality of teen culture with the struggle of ‘needing’ to party and drink to belong. This was very similar to Lorde’s ‘White Teeth Teens’ about the toxic party culture amongst adolescents. With jarring lyrics like “Please don’t try to kiss me on the sidewalk-On your cigarette break-I can’t afford to love someone-Who isn’t dying by mistake in Silver Lake,” she shows her self-awareness in the song. The lyrics are whimpered somberly over throbbing bass and a psychedelic beat.

Tracks like “all the good girls go to hell” and “bury a friend” show her blithely gothic and creepy side. In “all good girls go to hell” Eilish sings about how her “Lucifer is lonely” giving off a menacing, baleful feel to listeners. In “bury a friend” she interrogates her monsters and repeats the phrase “I wanna end me,” in a frightful tone along with almost disturbing ad-libs and lyrics commanding “step on the glass, staple your tongue,”. Eilish takes advice from her spirit animal, the spider, and emulates it by knitting together a chilling ‘creepy-crawly’ tune.

The softer minutes of the album awaken Eilish’s subdued side with somber guitar and piano under her muted humming and glossy voice. In songs like “listen before you go”, “i love you”, and “goodbye”, she whispers about love and moments of anguish. She does not fail to show off her beautiful voice in these sorrowful ballads. In fact, she highlights them even more, letting listeners truly take in her talent.

“wish you were gay” also shows off her voice, in a blunt confession about her struggles with a crush. She admits that she just wants to spare her pride and she knows she selfish, telling the love interest to “say that I’m not your preferred sexual orientation,”. This bluntness weaved into feathery vocals and shown throughout the album shows off her relatable side and the fact that she is still young and has a lot to learn– she knows this.

Eilish takes all the awkward, taboo, parts of being a teenager and turns it into a melodic, ‘pop-trap-EDM’ masterpiece. The best part is that because she is only 17, she has a lot of room for growth. Eilish isn’t afraid to unapologetically be herself and this makes her an icon of our generation.

Ashley Edwards
Billie Eilish’s new album shows the triumphs and downfalls of being a teenager with heavy bass and her glossy voice. Eilish has impacted many with her talent.