Billie Eilish’s New Claim to Teen Popularity
Billie Eilish, the seventeen-year-old rising indie-pop star, has become known for challenging traditional musical conventions, and her new album ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ is no exception. Eilish’s innovative tendencies are evident by the first song on the album titled ‘!!!!!!!.’ The song is simply an audio clip of her proclaiming that “I have taken out my Invisalign, and this is the album,” a moment not many singers or celebrities would choose to share with the public.
Her album’s songs range from soft melodic harmonies, to heavily autotuned and busy. We get the first glimpse of her more daring ventures with music in ‘You Should See Me in a Crown,’ recognized for its deep and sudden bass drops and pitch modulation. Eilish also has a tendency to do the unexpected, exemplified by songs like ‘Bad Guy’ which are more upbeat despite their dark lyrics. Her daring approach to music is refreshing in an era of music which is often lazy and unoriginal.
Other songs such as ‘8,’ however, take musical risks that do not pay off. The song features Eilish’s voice being heavily autotuned to sound as high pitched as, well, an eight-year-old girl. Whether this was her intention or not, the effect is not exactly favorable. The song ends up sounding strained, and uncomfortable; not a song easily listened to without physically cringing.
In ‘Xanny,’ the catchy song does more than creating a pop melody craving to be sung along to. In this song, Eilish takes on a stance, albeit subtle, against the normalization of teenagers using Xanax. No doubt being exposed to more environments containing drugs, alcohol, and the general life of many singers and celebrities, Eilish has had to grow up fats since gaining sudden popularity with her song ‘Ocean Eyes.’ Perhaps a reflection of the behavior she has seen since entering a new stage of her career, ‘Xanny’ touches on more mature topics not typically mentioned in any of her previous songs, which usually contains ballads of heartbreak, loneliness and teen despair.
The general vibe of the nearly 45-minute long album is one of pop-wannabe-edginess. This isn’t necessarily bad, and some of the songs on the album are my new favorites being added to my regularly circulated playlists. However, undertones of the majority of the songs feel heavy and uneasy. The autotune can easily become excessive, yet when used in the right way, many of her songs are able to accomplish a unique and raw sound, which has become of one 17-year-old singer’s signature moves.