by Paige Stern
WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? is something out of a nightmare. It seeps into the deepest, darkest pockets of your soul, encouraging you to embrace the wicked.
Only 17, Billie Eilish is a star on the rise. She doesn’t beat around the bush, and using her teen-angst to her advantage has proved rewarding. Her debut album further showcases the singer’s artistry and morbid style that has earned her a vast following in such a short period of time.
One of the most anticipated albums of the year, this LP is fresh, each song intertwined with surprising sound bites that make the album come to life. According to Eilish, every song is based off of night terrors and her own experiences with sleep paralysis—where, according to her, your deepest, darkest secrets are locked away, only to be released when witching hour strikes the clock. In addition to what keeps her awake at night, Eilish addresses other aspects of her personal life and struggles, including depression. But her songs are not written in an attempt to overcome any mental illness, but rather to accept that it controls certain aspects of her life, and that she’ll need to live with it..
The track’s introduction, “!!!!!!!” clocks in at 14 seconds, serving as a reminder that despite the horrific imagery captured by her lyrics and the haunting production throughout the record, Eilish is still able to enjoy her work. She talks about taking out her invisalign to sing, laughing as a voice in the background cracks a joke. It’s her own unique, quirky way of expressing her excitement over sharing her deepest thoughts with her fans while hyping her listeners up. The next song on the record,“bad guy” can be described in three words: Sexy. Sinister. Suggestive. This is the kind of track you’d envision as the soundtrack to a show like Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, as Eilish spews bad bitch vibes with every beat. The song’s bass is so heavy it’ll make your earbuds vibrate, and accompanied with Eilish’s chilling vocals, the track would entice listeners to want to be the “bad guy” she sings about; she makes being in control sound much more enticing than going with the flow.
In “Wish You Were Gay,” a mix between an acoustic guitar and sitcom sound bites of “awwww” and laughter introduce the song, in which Eilish draws a mocking image of the typical unrequited love story that usually ends in ‘happily ever after,’ adding her own twist. Shifting into the chorus, the backtrack becomes digitized, turning an emotionally trying situation into a ‘sunny-day’ melody. However, despite the backlash Eilish faced after initially releasing the song back in March for her incorporation of sexual orientation as an excuse for someone not to like her, she has made it clear that was not her intention. Rather, in her song, she hopes that a guy wouldn’t like her because of his sexual orientation, and not because he just isn’t into her.
As you dive deeper into the album, you go deeper into Eilish’s closet of skeletons. The tenth track on the record, “bury a friend,” carries the record’s title, and has been the headliner of the album’s marketing strategy. The most haunting song of the album, Eilish sings of night terrors that, just by listening to them, could seep into anyone’s sweet dreams, and make you never want to shut your eyes again. So fair warning: do not listen to this track alone in the dark.
One of the last tracks, “listen before i go,” which is arguably the most personal of the album, starts with Eilish’s vocals and a piano. As the lyrics unfold, it becomes apparent she is singing about her non-combative approach to her suicidal thoughts. Eilish beautifully communicates these tragic emotions, which leaves her with nothing more but a desperation to end the pain. Yet, as she sings, she seems to be at peace with the idea of death, saying the only guilt she’d feel is for those who would be hurt if she left.
Billie Eilish is an unpredictable, angst-filled artist that many can’t help but be entranced by. WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, as the artist has claimed, is her baby. Though, arguably, it may actually be the monster under our beds we fear. Eilish’s debut is only the beginning of something that is encouraging this generation to embrace their inner demons and live creatively in cooperation with them.