Published on May 15th, 2019 | by voxx0
Billie Eilish – When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
The teen phenomenon occupies the darkness on her hauntingly powerful debut…
Billie Eilish is a billion-stream phenomenon with the prickly aura of a cult hero. In the admittedly small pantheon of singers called Billie, the 17-year-old is closer to Holiday than Piper: adored by her fellow teenage girls because she dwells on the dark side of youth, speaking candidly about depression and sleep disorders. Though her debut full-length album opens with a burst of throaty laughter, good times are hard to come by on a record that sometimes suggests a Generation Z take on Neil Young’s Tonight’s The Night.
Eilish recorded the album at her childhood home in Los Angeles, with her brother Finneas O’Connell serving as co-writer and producer, thus keeping her distance from pop’s over-professionalised mainstream. Her sleepy, bruised voice recalls Lorde and Lana Del Rey but it’s starker and more intimate. Starting on a relatively extroverted note with the finger-clicking strut of recent hit ‘Bad Guy’ (punctuated by a tart “Duh!”) and the menacing, bassy swagger of ‘You Should See Me In A Crown’, the album gradually fades and frays as the night closes in. The unusually spooky Top 10 hit ‘Bury A Friend’ nods to The Doors and Kanye West’s Yeezus, while the closing trio of exhausted ballads is only one step up from silence.
Eilish can be bluntly morbid (“Call my friends to tell them that I love them and I’ll miss them and I’m sorry”), but then teenagers often are. This surprising, haunting album will speak powerfully both to her peers and to anyone who remembers how youth can sometimes feel like an overwhelming weight.
- By Jake White