By Blake Wedding —
Billie Eilish has had a lot riding on her debut album, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” Suffice to say, the seventeen-year-old pop personality has faced a lot of hate and criticism, yet at the same time, a lot of hype and anticipation.
The album has a distinctly unique, cult fanaticism surrounding its existence unlike any other album released in 2019.
After listening to the album and understanding more than ever about Eilish’s unique sound and style, I can say the fanaticism is somewhat warranted.
One thing is for sure; there is no other pop album around that sounds exactly like this in 2019. I dare you to find an album which parallels its eccentric and alluring vibes.
That being said, Eilish is definitely an artist who wears her influences on her sleeves: Lorde, Sky Ferrera, Lana Del Ray and Grimes, to a lesser extent, all undoubtedly shaped her approach to music. These female singers have been categorized as occupying an inherently melancholy and artsy space in modern pop.
Eilish has even been harshly criticized for being a Lorde copycat. While I see the similarities, I think it’s an unfair to proclaim that Billie Eilish vocal style and her music as nothing more than a Lorde copycat.
However, Eilish is guided by Lorde’s approach to pop music, as well as others. In the process she creates something that is wholly her own.
The end result of this unique style, which Eilish has brought to the table in the form of her debut album, is a mixed bag.
From the very start of the album, you can tell that Eilish is trying hard to be unconventional and offbeat in her methods and style on this album. Sometimes this pays off, sometimes it can make for some wholeheartedly cringeworthy moments.
Throughout the 14 tracks Eilish is complemented by the efforts and expertise of her brother and long-time musician, Finneas O’Connell.
O’Connell produced the majority of the songs on the album and it shows.
There is a perfectionist attitude and execution to most of the songs on the album with beats, instrumentation and production that sound glitzy, layered, lavish and above all else, expensive. Eilish’s voice serves her best when she delivers a hushed vocal alongside Finneas’ instrumentation.
In its best moments, the effect can be hypnotic and captivating.
Among the album’s highlights were: “xanny”, “you should see me in a crown”, “wish you were gay”, “when the party’s over” and “bury a friend”.
These songs, in my opinion, are incredibly well-realized pop songs.
While I may not be the target audience for Eilish’s music and can’t relate too much of this album’s lyrical topics, I found a lot of what Eilish was saying compelling.
You don’t have to relate to a piece of music to appreciate it, an idea which so many people are stranger to.
Eilish bounces around, tackling everything from insightful anti-drug songs to bombastic bangers, teenage angst-ridden balladry and a firm sense of melancholy and sadness that encompasses this album.
As a whole, I found Eilish’s album to be a decent collection of songs, especially impressive for someone who is only seventeen years old. Some could even be end-of-the-year contenders. I guess the best thing I can say about the album is that it excites me for Eilish’s future.
Graphic by Shayla Kerr / The Louisville Cardinal