If there’s an artist today who I would consider to be the spiritual successor of Lorde, it would be Billie Eilish. Born from a family of musicians and actors, Billie got her start when she recorded her debut single Ocean Eyes and released it on Soundcloud in 2016. It was an underground hit that got further eyes turned to Billie Eilish. Since then, her buzz has gotten bigger with huge streaming numbers and collaborations with Vince Staples and Khalid. Now, she’s released her debut and I’m here to review it. This is WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?.
1. !!!!!!!: I’m gonna skip this intro because there’s not much to say about it. It’s 14 seconds of nothing. Let’s move one.
2. bad guy: Now we start the album proper with bad guy. This is Billie mocking a guy she likes who’s acting tough while she puts her foot down and is like…
I like this song. The heavy bass along with the alien synths and the snaps make up the production and they compliment Billie’s more playful performance. I even like the trap breakdown in the end. I give this a 4/5.
3. xanny: The next track, xanny, is on a more serious topic, which is drug use. More specifically, Billie questioning why people are drawn to this habit that would inevitably kill them. The production is more stripped back than the previous, featuring delicate pianos, sparse drums, and a heavier 808 bass. It’s a well-crafted track that shows the album’s vulnerable track. I give it a 5/5.
4. you should see me in a crown: We move on to you should see me in a crown, which is awesome. This is one of those songs that utilizes the trap sound in a way that doesn’t feel forced and phony. This shit goes harder than most trap songs out now. I give it a 5/5.
5. all the good girls go to hell: Next is all the good girls go to hell, which utilizes a lot of Biblical imagery and turning them on their head, like referring to God as a woman. I feel like this track would generate controversy from the religious crowd who would call this blasphemous. Still, this is a good song with production driven by a simple upbeat piano melody along with a g-funk synth on the post-chorus. I give this a 4/5.
6. wish you were gay: So this song has generated some controversy because of the content. In wish you were gay, Billie is rejected by a boy she liked and in her rationalization of it all, wished that he was gay. Funny enough, it was inspired by someone Billie used to know who actually came out as gay. Folks have accused her of queer-baiting with this song and I can see that. Hell, even Billie admits on the bridge that she’s just being selfish with this shit. As for the rest of this song? It’s alright, but it’s not anything great, especially when compared to what Billie Eilish is capable of. I give it a 3/5.
7. when the party’s over: And from that, we got to when the party’s over, which is about a relationship that’s obviously not working out. It’s a nice change of pace as a vulnerable ethereal piano ballad with an occasional 808s bass. Great song. I give it a 5/5.
8. 8: I’ve seen a lot of people say that 8 is the worst track on this album and I agree. The weird baby-like vocals along with production that mixes a ukulele with a thin beat. This was confirmed to be the studio version of an unreleased track called see-through. I’ve heard worse songs, but I’m not feeling this one. I give it a 2/5.
9. my strange addiction: The next track, strange addiction, features audio from the hit TV show The Office, which is Billie’s favorite TV show. The song itself is about, what else, strange addictions. I like the groove that the production provides that matches the off-kilter vibe of the content. I dig it and I would give it a 5/5.
10. bury a friend: Already talked about this track previously in a Top 40 Review, so go check that out for my thoughts. I have nothing new to add. It’s a 5/5.
11. ilomilo: Next is ilomilo, which is based on a puzzle game and was confirmed to be about the fear of being isolated. This is a good enough song, though I wish I liked it more. I don’t know. Maybe it’s the twinkling music box and synth meshing together that doesn’t do it for me. Still, it’s cool. I give it a 3.5/5.
12. listen before i go: We move on to another piano ballad in listen before i go, which goes into the touchy subject of suicide. Yeah. I think this song captures the mindset of someone who is suicidal and it’s matched with a somber piano track. This isn’t going to be one of those songs that I would revisit the most due to its depressing content, but it’s cool. I give it a 3.5/5.
13. i love you: From a piano ballad to an acoustic guitar ballad, i love you goes into a relationship that has clear cracks showing and it happens to be the longest track on the album. Plus, people have pointed out its similarities with Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. It’s an okay enough song, not anything great. I give it a 3/5.
14. goodbye: Now we’re on the final track, which, funny enough, is called goodbye. At barely two minutes, this track combines a line from each song on the album to spell out one sentence. I give it a 3/5.
you should see me in a crown, xanny, bury a friend, when the party’s over
I give WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? a 4/5. This is the sort of pop music that would be bred from the Soundcloud scene and put most of those acts in shame. The production seesaws from industrial and experimental to vulnerable and somber. This matches the writing, which hits multiple facets of teen angst, and the weird choices in vocal production. A lot of this album has a DIY aesthetic to it which makes sense since it was produced by one person, Billie’s older brother Finneas. There are a few moments on this album that either doesn’t work or tries a bit hard at something more polished, which is the opposite of Billie Eilish’s appeal. She’s still young, so the sky’s the limit for her in terms of what happens next. This is a good album and I think it’s worth checking out. Next album I’ll be reviewing will be…
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