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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Billie Eilish debut album doesn’t mess around

She’s dark, moody, cynical, but somehow soft. Billie Eilish isn’t your typical 17-year-old.

Looming on the horizon as one of the most anticipated albums of the past few months (or years), Eilish finally released her “anti-pop” debut album “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?”. As much as some of us don’t want to conform to mainstream music taste, Eilish’s music is far from the norm.

The album:

The first full-length track of the album shoots right out of the gate with a cheeky “I’m that bad type. Make your mama sad type. Make your girlfriend mad tiger,” then some “Might seduce your dad type. I’m the bad guy,” and ending with an iconic “duh.” This club-style banger had followers and critics going wild, earning Eilish over 50 million Spotify hits in the past week since the album’s release.

This taunting and upbeat anthem quickly transitions into something quite different. “xanny” represents not only the first slow ballad of Eilish’s album but a verbal attack against pill-popping for just the sake of getting high. Not only is this track unique in the use of distorted voice effects combined with softly sung lyrics, but it states a clear message to her impressionable young audience: don’t take drugs that you don’t need.

With “you should see me in a crown” and “all the good girls go to hell” up next, Eilish continues with her sassy rhetoric. “you should see me in a crown” was released a few months ago, but still adds to the album’s menacing tune with dramatic bass drops and aesthetically pleasing “ASMR” sound effects of metal sliding against metal.

Another track Eilish released early sparked controversy as it was criticized for misusing gay culture. In “wish you were gay,” the artist sings about how she wishes her ex-lover was gay because it would be easier on her ego when he ends up rejecting her.

When I learned the meaning of this song, I was uneasy at first, especially since this song would be adorable if it were actually describing a situation involving a gay person. But after listening through a few times, this song has personally become a favorite of mine. It’s undeniably one of the best tunes Eilish has produced.

Looking past the “bad guy” and “all the good girls go to hell” bops of the album, Eilish has more dark and real tracks than not. As one of the last songs of the album, “listen before you go” leaves a sinking pit of hopelessness in the chest.

Eilish is open about her depression and overall struggle with mental health, and this track deals with vivid imagery of a person’s last moments standing on top of a roof before ending their life. She sings about her lover that left her deserted, friends that will miss her and lastly, that she just wants people to listen to her words before she leaves her life. Police sirens echo in the background as the singer’s voice fades away at the very end.

None of us know for sure if Eilish has even experienced love at this young of an age, but the track right after is a tear-jerker as well. She sings “i love you” with equal amounts of pain as she struggles to understand her feelings for a beloved partner and relationship that has gone awry.

Rating: 4/5

The music videos:

“you should see me in a crown”

Content warning for people with arachnophobia. I’m not usually creeped out by spiders, but thinking about that many walking on my body is going to give me nightmares. I don’t even want to talk about the one in her mouth. Besides that, the concept isn’t mindblowing. It’s a no from me, next!

“when the party’s over”

This song is stunning, and to be honest I’m not exactly sure what the video means. I see it like the black liquid is somebody toxic and she knows she shouldn’t get involved, but can’t help herself. Her body ends up purging the liquid at the end. Overall, Eilish plays this character well and the concept is chilling.

“bury a friend”

This video is like a whole horror movie in three minutes. Disturbing visuals with the haunting elements of the song create a dynamic we haven’t seen in pop music yet, especially from the upcoming Gen Z artists.

“bad guy”

Everything about this video is weird and against any norm of pop culture, but that’s why it’s appealing. I couldn’t imagine a more fitting video for this track.

Rayanne Painter can be reached at [email protected] or @rayphenomenon on Twitter.

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