2019, Music

WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? (2019) by Billie Eilish

“Bad Guy” was ubiquitous when it came out. So ubiquitous I heard it and more than once. At some point it made it into a car commercial so I heard it much more. But I don’t know how much of Eilish’s music I heard before I listened to her debut EP and album. I didn’t write much of a review of her EP:

Pretty impressive for someone in their mid teens. I certainly couldn’t do anything like this at that age. (I still can’t now, but I was a horrible writer at 16.) Certainly a good display of her talent.

This album is, as you would expect, better than the first EP. There are more songs, more ideas, and a better sense of Eilish as a performer. I saw someone say she’s post-Lorde and I think I can hear that given the half whisper thing both of them resort to at times.

Everything is pretty sparse. I don’t know if that’s post-Lorde as well, given I’ve only heard Lorde’s second album and my understanding is that record is much lusher. I also don’t know trap and so I have no idea how much this record is just pop plus trap. (I will say the first few times trap tracks were played for me I absolutely hated them, but that’s in part because there was no singing.)

To me, Eilish doesn’t really sound like anyone else, but that’s far more a testament to the fact I don’t listen to “alt pop” and the fact that I’ve never listened to Lorde’s debut. To me, the combination of this shy-sounding British singing with trap (or whatever) sounds pretty damn unique.

And the songs are pretty catchy in spite of the sparse or sparse-sounding production. (There are moments when there are clearly lots of tracks, but they are blended well.)

When I hear records by teenagers, I try to give them more of the benefit of the doubt. If you make a debut record and you’re 28 and it sounds like a debut, that could be rough. But if you’re 18, it’s different. I think this is pretty good for some teenager and her 22-year-old brother.


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