Billie Eilish is a 17-year-old California native. She does not smoke or drink alcohol. She still sleeps with her childhood stuffed animals. She is also the first 2000s-born artist with a No. 1 album on the Billboard charts.
“WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?” is the debut album of Billie Eilish and was released on March 29 of this year. Her previous work includes her debut extended play, “Don’t Smile at Me,” which peaked at 14 on the Billboard 200 in 2017. Billie has incorporated her singles in various pieces of media, such as Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” and Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma.“
Eilish’s album reflects a mood that arguably resonates with most Generation Z folk. The opening track is a 13-second opening of Billie and her brother, Finneas O’Connell, laughing about removing her Invisalign. Billie succeeds this with her fifth single “bad guy,” which demonstrates a pop dichotomy between edgy innuendo and New York house buffoonery.
Other examples include low-key bops such as “all the good girls go to hell” and “my strange addiction.” The first track, which is described as a Biblical allegory to climate change, ends with Billie laughing and cutting up with others. The other song references a popular TLC show in its title and samples vocal snippets of an episode from “The Office.“
Eilish’s comic interludes blend unusually well amongst other emotions portrayed through her music. Her singles range from manic and nightmarish (“you should see me in a crown,” “bury a friend”) to awkward and self-reflective (“wish you were gay,” “8.”) The album comes to a close with two mournful ballads (“listen before i go,” “i love you”) and a montage of the previous songs’ lyrics in the final track, “goodbye.” The three closing tracks are interconnected, as they tell the story of a narrator who literally and figuratively deadens herself to the world around her.
As the title suggests, the album itself feels like a dream. This is a look into Billie’s thoughts and creative process, as this is where she goes when fast asleep. Her music encapsulates a variety of moods, which ebb and flow throughout each song. One minute, the listener feels as though they are sailing over gray clouds. Then, their body shifts down as though they will crash at any moment. Even then, it is more like a slow descent down the rabbit hole rather than a leap from the rooftop with everything slowly floating into place.
The dreamlike quality of the album’s concept also explains Eilish’s approach to music. She experiments with different variations of bass and distortion within her melodies. Her voice may be off-beat and slow-paced in one song, but then she will toy with pitch and frequency in a different one. Her production makes for a varied listening experience, but not at the cost of her certainty in her sound and aesthetic.
“WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?” is a brew of creepy and kooky electropop, Dadaist humor and candid observation. In a year that alludes to the return of favorites such as MARINA, Lana Del Rey and Melanie Martinez, Billie Eilish proves herself more than worthy of rubbing elbows with established pop royalty.
Check out to Billie Eilish’s new album below.