Where Do We Go?


Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Ella Arnold, Co-editor

Billie Eilish, a 17 year old girl from Los Angeles who was a homeschooled choir kid, hardly comes from a troubled background, contrary to the decidedly macabre sound of her new album. WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO, Eilish’s second project, is the musical equivalent of a nightmare–charred, haunting, and reaching deep into the psyche.

Each song draws a story of a different, almost cartoonish evil — from the borderline satanic “all the good girls go to hell” to the lonely, disturbed “ilomilo.” Eilish draws on her past failed romantic endeavors, as well as her experiences as a young musician dealing with the new burden of fame. In “xanny,” the second song on the album, Eilish rejects drugs in general, describing the regret and pain she has experienced with watching her friends fall victim to heavy substance abuse.

Finneas O’Connell, Eilish’s brother, produced and co wrote the entire album with her, just as he produced her first ever single “ocean eyes.” Last month, Eilish told reporters from Billboard that “It’s kind of like a coming-of-age album… I did mostly everything for the first time last year. So it’s weird… I learned to drive last year.”

Eilish’s earnest youthfulness definitely comes out in every song on the album, even occasionally coming off as angsty through the overproduced vocals and backing tracks. However, despite the nearly reaching, cryptic tone possessed by some of the songs, Eilish’s lyrical prose shines through on every track. She veers away from the melty, mournful sound of her previous songs and adapts to a biting, intensely cynical sound.

“bad guy,” the first song on the album, is almost taunting — Eilish mocks and flirts with the idea of a “tough guy” and establishes herself as the anti-good girl, through teasing lyrics and intense vocals. Throughout the album, Eilish addresses love and loss, and even samples characters from the popular show “The Office” on “my strange addiction,” which makes her music even more relatable to young people.

Regardless of the apparent cynicism, Eilish lets true emotion and feeling shine through in tracks like “i love you” and “ilomilo.” In “i wish you were gay,” despite the slightly queer-baiting title, Eilish evaluates her emotions for a guy who doesn’t reciprocate her feelings, which she finds suspicious. Through letting her guard down, she peppers her biting track list with glimmers of adolescent hope.

Though she’s only 17, Billie Eilish is an example of modern success — creating her success through Soundcloud and social media. Her curiously poignant lyricism and dark musical sound defines her as a rising star in music — one that will surely change the face of modern music.