Billie Eilish's latest single is terrifying in all the right ways.
There is no doubt that Billie Eilish is one of the most exciting and unique pop stars of recent years. “Pop star” is an almost insulting way to describe her – this 17 year-old girl (I know, I couldn’t believe it either), is an emotional powerhouse, and she is only getting better. She has completely redefined the popular music industry with her personal lyrics and clever production. Her brother, Finneas O’Connell, co-produces and co-writes the latest single, ‘bury a friend’, as he has done for the majority of her other tracks. I have no doubt that his career will grow and evolve in the next few years, hopefully collaborating with more hip-hop artists.
This haunting single, taken from her upcoming album, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, is stripped back in vocals, but fierce in production. The opening is caring in style, reminiscent of a childhood lullaby, but the track takes a haunted turn with screeching intertwined with Eilish’s emotional vocals and thoughtful lyrics. The music video only cements this horror track’s power; Eilish is pushed, pulled and terrorised, all with a numbed expression on her face, perhaps representative of her toxic relationship with the music industry. In a recent interview, Eilish confirmed that the “fans make it worth it”, but it is clear that she is struggling to still find ways that the life of fame is worthwhile to her. Lyrics such as “I thought that I would be dead by now” and “I wanna end me” are mixed in amongst the abundance of other questions posed to the listener throughout the track. This appears to be a time of personal development for Eilish, and occasionally the otherwise strong track doesn’t seem to have a focal point. There isn’t a firm chorus, and after a few listens the track does slightly lose its original momentum.
Eilish is redefining the popular music industry, and whilst there is the danger of feeding a monster – that is, her depressive style of lyricism – it is addictive for the listener. Instead of making an upbeat, meaningless track (which she could do, if she so wanted), she makes life more complex and pushes herself to reveal her darkest emotions. This single is painful to listen to, but makes me excited for the rest of the album. There is no doubt that Eilish has unbelievable potential, and she is only getting more refined and sure of her musical style. I just hope her personal life isn’t affected too heavily by her professional success.
‘bury a friend’ is available now via Darkroom/Interscope Records.