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The 11 best Billie Eilish songs

Why have a Top Ten when you can have one more? As Billie prepares to headline Reading and Leeds this summer, we rank her top tracks


If you look back on what you achieved in your late teens and early twenties with a grimace, it’s probably best to avoid learning anything about Billie Eilish. The first artist born in the 2000s to have a No.1 hit, Eilish was just seventeen when she won all four main Grammy categories with her debut album, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? Praised for her creative production and her introspective, thoughtful songwriting, Eilish has rivalled artists twice her age ever since she entered the industry – although admittedly, at that time, said artists would have been only twenty-eight…

As Billie Eilish prepares to headline Reading and Leeds festival this weekend, we’re looking back through her discography to pick her 11 best tracks so far.

11. ocean eyes

(don’t smile at me, 2017)

From the minute those opening harmonies hit, it’s easy to understand how fourteen-year-old Eilish captured the attention of the internet with her Soundcloud debut. Bedroom pop was enjoying a moment in the mid-2010s, especially with anyone who was Eilish’s age. ‘ocean eyes’ has all the hallmarks of a winner in the genre – breathy vocals, confessional lyrics – but it’s delivered with an imagination and poeticism that made it stand apart. It would become indicative of everything Eilish would continue to do well throughout her career, before she went on to create a catalogue of vulnerable, creative alternative pop with her own distinct sound.

10. all the good girls go to hell

(WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, 2019)

Eilish has a few great pieces of social commentary on her debut album. ‘xanny’, an eyeroll at the culture of substance abuse in her peer group, narrowly missed out on the top 11. ‘all the good girls go to hell’ is a standout: a snappy, sub-three-minute biblical parable about the rising waters and burning hills of climate change. Eilish doesn’t try to sound older or wiser than her years here, but with a decidedly teenaged voice manages to deliver a galvanizing call to action.

9. TV

(Guitar Songs, 2022)

Eilish has written some great tracks about mental health, but the slow, melancholy spiral of ‘TV’ is one of her best. A lethargic acoustic guitar accompanies gentle vocals, deeper and more mature than we’ve heard her before, as she delivers lyrics blunter and more sharply aimed than usual. The inner monologue devolves into a trembling realisation – “Maybe I’m the problem” – sung over and over to play us out.

8. bellyache

(don’t smile at me, 2017)

A playful offering from the ‘dont smile at me’ EP, ‘bellyache’ sees Eilish assume the voice of a freewheeling teenage criminal trying to ignore the knot of guilt in her stomach. She has an infectious amount of fun with the concept, just as her brother FINNEAS does with the production. That floaty falsetto on the chorus can’t be topped.

7. Therefore I Am

(Happier Than Ever, 2021)

It’s a lot of fun to see Eilish shake off her introspection and self-doubt and embrace teenage stardom, as she does in a few places across Happier Than Ever. ‘Therefore I Am’ is a satisfyingly languid takedown of a hanger-on who just can’t stop dropping her name. Easy switches between singing and chatting, a gently vibrating bass and a softly chuckling Eilish all lend the track an effortless cool.

6. lovely (with Khalid)

(13 Reasons Why (Season 2), 2018)

Eilish teams up with another young star in R&B singer-songwriter Khalid for this lightly orchestral ballad. Subtle strings and percussion fade in and out throughout the track, pulling back to spotlight the blend of the two voices when the chorus hits. Abstract in concept and a haunting listen, it’s one that is bound to age beautifully.

5. bad guy

(WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, 2019)

The bassline none of us could escape in the summer of 2019. ‘bad guy’ might have suffered a little from oversaturation, but when you’ve had some distance from it, you’ll remember why you loved it. It’s a fantastic piece of alternative pop; ridiculously catchy without being saccharine, playful in concept but smart in execution, and with typically inventive production. Eilish’s “I’m the bad guy” drawl into that euro-techno hook is wonderfully done.

4. Male Fantasy

(Happier Than Ever, 2021)

The stripped-back closer to Eilish’s sophomore album Happier Than Ever, ‘Male Fantasy’ is a deeply personal look into the singer’s mind post-breakup. The lyrics are simple by Eilish’s standards, but there’s a magic in ‘Male Fantasy’ that makes it incredibly affecting, whether that comes from her vulnerable vocals or a stunning melody. It sees her speaking to an audience of peers – her largely young female fanbase – and addressing what it is to be defined by how others see you.

3. bury a friend

(WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, 2019)

Some of Eilish’s best lyrical work, ‘bury a friend’ is a fever dream; part confessional, part revenge drama, part sleep paralysis vision. At first listen, ‘bury a friend’ might seem in places like word soup, but there’s a huge amount of skill on display here from the still teenaged Eilish, as she cycles through thoughts at a frantic pace. Experimental production takes us from haunted house sound effects to speakeasy bridge, all without losing our way back to a fantastically catchy alternative pop chorus. It’s excellently done.

2. when the party’s over

(WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, 2019)

Of all Eilish’s soft, breathy ballads, ‘when the party’s over’ is the very best. It’s her most beautiful melody, lyrically simple but sung with incredible maturity, her emotive vocals floating over two octaves so effortlessly that it’s easy to forget the track was released when she was just sixteen. The accompaniment is simple, piano-driven, and yet the production still manages to surprise us, elevating an already gorgeous ballad to something distinctly Eilish.

1. Happier Than Ever

(Happier Than Ever, 2021)

The very best Billie Eilish song is actually sort of two songs. The first is beautiful, moving, a slowly strummed ukulele ballad with a pretty melody and a confidently pared-back vocal. It’s well done, but not – at least by Eilish’s standards – exceptional. It’s when that ukulele begins to shift into a restrained electric guitar that we realise we’re in for something exciting. Eilish has never sung like this – still controlled, still breathy in places, but with a power and an anger we’ve never heard from her before. The instrumental builds as she sings about all the ways in which her past relationship failed her, until she’s left screaming over the outro, leaving the accompaniment to dissolve. Both halves are solid, but together they’re the ultimate breakup track, allowing the listener to wallow, rise above, and scream it out – all within the space of five minutes.


Billie Eilish will be headlining Reading & Leeds Festival this August 2023. Find tickets for Billie Eilish here.