Billie Eilish´s newest album is a haunted take on anti-pop

Daria Burnley, Staff Writer

By Daria Burnley

“I have taken out my invisalign and this is the album” is how Billie Eilish’s album WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? begins. Eilish’s previous EP don’t smile at me, is an ode to teenage melancholy sung in whispered vocals. Its release immediately elevated her into the semi-mainstream. The dyed hair, formless clothing, and her sullen eyes makes her stand out from the usual pop stars who dominate the charts. She’s counterculture, and her newest album has etched her name into the alternative genre.

It’s a dark and twisted look into Eilish’s mind, inspired by night terrors and sleep paralysis, and the songs do not let the listener feel easy. “bury a friend” uses the sound of a power drill in between the pounding and  menacing bassline. Sung by the personified monster under her bed, the album’s main topic is fear, and Eilish wants to bring up people’s phobias with her lyrics. The minimal use of instrumentals and the distorted fragments of her voice lead us into a nightmarish underside of Billie, its sinister and at times sardonic lyrics makes it lofi for your personal demons.

Each song is unfiltered and personal shifting between superiority and insecurity, Eilish doesn’t shy away from the bad and is blunt about her feelings. Beginning with “bad guy,” Eilish takes back agency in a relationship as her partner is under her control establishing her intimidating and unwavering personality. Inspired by songs by Lana del Rey and Avril Lavigne,  the uncontrollable deserve their anthems and Eilish delivers. Continuing the element of self confidence “you should see me in a crown,” based around the character Moriarty from the show Sherlock, Eilish delivers her tour de triumph as she acknowledges her new-found fame.  “I like the way they all scream/

Tell me which one is worse/Living or dying first/Sleeping inside a hearse.”

Yet by the end, once coming off the irreligious high of “all good girls go to hell,” the album takes a sharp shift. “listen before i go” takes teenage love ballads of heartbreak and irreversibly creates a tragic and grim farewell as Eilish sings of suicide. “Taste me, the salty tears on my cheek/That’s what a year-long headache does to you/I’m not okay, I feel so scattered/Don’t say I’m all that matters.”

A tricky subject matter, yet her voice and lyricism makes us sympathize and in a disturbing way understand. Suicide rates among teenagers are growing higher with it being the second largest cause of death of young people, and Eilish’s tragedy is a mirror to what many of us feel.

Her final song “goodbye” is just that, the eeriness as sound bites from previous songs are strung together, a symphony of heartbreak and victory. WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? ends on a requiem for Eilish past and present.

Billie Eilish is emblematic of teenage heartache and rebellion, its anti-pop at its core, with the work of Eilish and her brother Finneas O’Connell showing excellence in creating something different and genre bending.

The gothic and heartfelt songs are addicting to listen to. Terror and fear coincide in one, the internal struggle many of us relate to now. Eilish’s youth shines through as she matures and continues to look for herself even if it means searching for it in the darkest of places and towards facing her own worst enemy.