ALBUM REVIEW: Billie Eilish // When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?


Recommended Tracks:  bad guy, when the party’s over, my strange addiction
Artists You May Like:  Bishop Briggs, Lorde, Halsey

Billie Eilish seems like your typical teenager:  she dyes her hair different colors, she loves The Office, she uses Invisalign.  There is one thing, though, that sets her apart from most 17-year-olds:  she is becoming a global pop phenomenon.  Billie has slowly been making waves over the past few years, finding success with various singles, such as “ocean eyes” and “lovely.”  With the release of her debut album just before the start of festival season, it seems like the summer is hers.

Judging by the album cover, which features a demonic Billie sitting on top of a bed and staring down the camera, one would think that this album is going to be dark and obscure.  That person would be correct, but before we get into all of the madness, we are treated to a 14-second clip of Billie taking out her Invisalign and joyfully stating “this is the album!”  It is a lighthearted, calm-before-the-storm moment that makes us feel like we don’t need to be in a dark place to listen to what’s ahead.

The first real track is the cool and catchy, “bad guy,” followed by the more subdued ballad, “xanny.”  These tracks establish the two styles of songs that we hear on the album:  rhythmic and intense or quiet and melancholy.  The same kind of qualities are heard within some of the tracks themselves, like “xanny,” for example.  This track is about being the only sober one at a party.  It has its quiet or reflective moments, where Billie is trying to understand why people would prefer to use drugs to a point that makes them unstable.  When we get to the chorus, the penetrating bass and buzz effects represent the haze going on around her at these parties, showing how uncomfortable things become when you are the only one not on that other level.

On “wish you were gay,” which is the sixth track, we hear some audio clips of an audience laughing and an audience clapping.  There are a few tracks on this album that feature different audio clips, enhancing the storyline for each.  The use of these clips on this track is done in an ironic way.  The song is about having feelings for someone who doesn’t feel the same way back and doesn’t give a clear reason for that behavior.  The clips, in this case, make the situation feel as if it were a rom-com; they take the sting out of being hurt.

Following “wish you were gay” is “when the party’s over,” which is about being angry with someone.  It deals with coming to terms with the fact that a relationship is ending and how it can still be upsetting, even if it is for the better.  Despite the angry undertone, you might not catch on that this track is an angry song because of how beautiful it sounds.  The piano accompaniment is haunting, yet heavenly, representing the vibe of the situation that she describes.  In addition, there are added layers to Billie’s vocals, giving the impression that a choir is backing her.

The album ends strongly, with the titles of the last three tracks forming the parting sentiment, “listen before i go, i love you, goodbye.”  The first of these tracks, “listen before i go,” addresses suicide and how someone might feel in the moments leading up to them making such a decision.  It is a hard track to get through and I would encourage anyone who has ever thought of taking their life or knows anyone who has had similar thoughts to talk to someone, anyone, and not be ashamed.  The next track, “i love you,” is about a complicated relationship.  There’s such a positive-sounding build-up in the chorus and then there’s this release, as if mimicking the ups and downs of the relationship.  The final track, “goodbye,” features one line from each track on the album.  It ties all of the stories together, finalizing the listener’s experience.

In the end, the album is not as dark and twisted as we might have imagined. The songs are very real, innocent, and relevant to some of the issues that people her age, or people of any age, are facing.  They deal with topics that people should hear and care about.  Getting people to listen is half of the problem, but with Billie’s unconventional style and talent, people are sure to hear.

You can find When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? on sites like Spotify and Apple Music.

Catch Billie Eilish on tour here.

Keep up with Billie Eilish:  Instagram // Facebook // Twitter // Website

Christine Sloman
Christine Sloman
Writer for Melodic Mag since 2018. Music lover since always.

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