Billie Eilish’s debut album signals the arrival of a new wave of pop

Billie Eilish’s debut album signals the arrival of a new wave of pop

Words by James Robertson

Billie Eilish’s rise to stardom has been meteoric, to say the least. In less than two years she has risen from just another SoundCloud artist to the most talked about singer of our time, with everyone offering up their own opinion on her angsty teen demeanour.

The 17-year-old from L.A. clearly cares about how she is perceived and the music on WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? is carefully crafted to show Eilish as the down-to-earth teenager that she is.

The album opens with Eilish announcing she has taken out her retainer and “this is the album”. The laughter that follows descends into the throbbing bass of ‘bad guy’, a tongue-in-cheek track about toxic masculinity. ‘xanny’ discusses self-medicating and mental health with Eilish’s vocals augmented to express so. But the highlight of the album’s first half is ‘all the good girls go to hell’, an upbeat funk track incorporating spritely piano and catchy guitar licks with one of the singer’s most anthemic choruses yet.

Peppered throughout the album are instances where Eilish will riff along to her own songs. Sound effects of horror tropes punctuate the darker tracks, blending Eilish’s cheerful and relatable persona with her nightmares.

Diversity is key here; one minute you’ll be assaulted with the trap beats of ‘you should see me in a crown’ and then lulled into the childlike ‘8’.

Melancholic ballads slowly bring the album to a close, leaving the listener just as dejected as the singer feels. Ultimately, Eilish leaves us desperate for more with the bold statement of an artist who is only just starting to find her voice.