Billie Eilish: Either You Don't Know Her or You Want to Be Her
By Lexi Vollero
The confident falsetto and nuanced melodies on her EP dont smile at me would never give away that Billie Eilish is barely even old enough to drive. Often seen rocking a down jacket or full tracksuit with gold chains, this sixteen-year-old singer/songwriter is in a league of her own.
Eilish dropped her eight-song EP in August in collaboration with her older brother, Finneas O’Connell. O’Connell, 20, is the composer behind "Ocean Eyes," the single that launched his little sister’s music career. He is also featured all over the album as a songwriter, guitarist, pianist, and backup vocalist and appears alongside her in nearly all of her live performances and interviews.
Some might say that Eilish is reminiscent of Lorde, with talent beyond her years and potent song lyrics. The two artists' electronic and vocal instrumentation are very similar in style and their songs reveal a shocking amount of worldly wisdom. However, Eilish, a Los Angeles native, embraces the eclectic aesthetic of her hometown with the persona of a moody, borderline juvenile teen. Basically, she makes being a badass look effortless.
The first song on the album, "COPYCAT," sets the tone for the work as a whole: a dark, edgy, synth-heavy statement that criticizes the people that merely mimic her originality and claim it as their own. A variety of vocals are layered on top of the textured instrumentation, from gritty low verses to block harmonies. The climax of the song comes just after the airy, youthful-sounding bridge that gives her a pretence of apologetic vulnerability, a pretence which is then shattered when she whispers “psych!” as the lead-in to the heavy bass drop that cues the final chorus.
Among other noteworthy tracks is "bellyache." This song is extremely deceptive, as it is written in a major key with rhythmic guitar and danceable synths; yet her playfully disturbing lyrics discuss murdering friends and lovers. Even the title sounds like a child speaking, not a troubled teen losing her mind.
Finally is my personal favorite track, "my boy." Shady bachelors beware because, as the song concludes, “if you want a good girl, then goodbye.” Her witty lyricism reveals the confident independence and biting edge that lie behind her plump-lipped pout and baby blue eyes.
Though she be little, she be fierce. Eilish is not to be overlooked; in fact, she is perfectly poised to command the pop stage.