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Do believe the hype. With billions of streams and more than 15 million Instagram followers, Billie Eilish is already a massive star, and her hugely anticipated debut has certainly been worth the wait.
From singing in the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus aged eight, tinkering around in her bedroom with her older brother Finneas O’Connell while home-schooled, and self-releasing her dreamy debut single Ocean Eyes in 2015, Billie has been propelled into super-stardom.
While R&B indie-pop track Ocean Eyes appears to channel one of her inspirations, Lana Del Rey, Eilish’s overall genre and sound is much harder to pin down. Since its release, she has continued to write and record with her brother in their childhood bedroom-turned-studio, where they also created WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?.
The sharp jarring lyrics are both timely and timeless with unique production twists hinting at the fun they had making it. Opening the record with 13 seconds of chatter and laughter, the pair include clips from TV series, recordings of their parents – LA actors Maggie Baird and Patrick O’Connell – and various genre nods to her creative influences on the release. Fans will also know the first song Billie ever wrote fingers crossed was inspired by The Walking Dead.
Her songs rarely shy away from stark-storytelling and intense subject matters which contrast with her pure falsetto vocals. She favours weird sound effects, deep bass, rickety club beats and dreamy delivery of her candid songwriting as she confidently regales realistic tales of taunting lovers, Xanax, broken friendships, rejection and ending it all.
bury a friend might be the coolest track on the album, vaguely reminiscent of Lorde’s Royals, and features an appearance from British rapper Crooks who befriended Eilish on Instagram.
my strange addiction is interspersed with quotes from The Office.
bellyache might be the closest thing to commerical pop, dipping its toe into the world of bubble gum joy with a catchy acoustic guitar melody while bad guy is dominated by a looped bassline and a heavy club beat. It teases along as she competes with and challenges her lover.
you should see me in a crown is delivered with a chic tone of disinterest – combined with trap and hip-hop influences – and a title inspired by British tv series Sherlock.
It all culminates in a trio of stunningly delivered ballads, not least the haunting i love you.
While it might be difficult to put Eilish’ sound in a box – her aura is already crystal clear – the vibe is raw, real, experimental and unmistakably unique.
Billie Eilish recently completed a short UK tour in March, you can see her next in August when she performs Reading and Leeds Festival. [Find Tickets]
Listen to WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? on Spotify: