Since Billie Eilish’s first hit single, “idontwannabeyouanymore,” came out in the summer of 2017, her debut album has been highly anticipated. After dropping the first single for the album, “when the party’s over,” Eilish released “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?” a year and five months later on March 29. When I listened to the two singles that were dropped before the album, I was immediately confident that I was going to enjoy this album, and I was not disappointed.
The first track on the album is not a song, but rather a 14 second audio track of Eilish having a conversation where she takes out her Invisalign aligners and jokes about it. This does not seem to have any relevance to the rest of the album, but it added a creative and sort of weird element to the album, showing how unique she is compared to other artists in her genre. The actual musical aspect of the album starts with the second track, “bad guy,” which combines techno beats with high bass. This is one of the many songs on the album where Eilish herself is faint in the background, almost as if her voice revolves around the instrumentals rather than the opposite.The actual music is a dominant element of the songs, telling a story more with the music rather than the lyrics.
Eilish uses the same uncommon beats, including beats that have a heavy bass and a lot of “techno” sounds, throughout the album that she did in her debut single, and this is what provides the foundation for the album. Many songs on the album have a strong beat drop at the chorus, which makes it much harder to avoid dancing a little bit while listening. For example, “all the good girls go to hell,” starts off softly but quickly turns into an upbeat and intense track that intrigues me as a listener. Eilish’s unusual use of the music makes her work sound original but not too off the wall for a variety of people to enjoy. Her most original tracks on the album are the ones where experiments more with her sound, both vocally and instrumentally, compared to other well-known pop music where the limits are seldom tested.
Even with the instrumentals playing a dominant role, Eilish does a good job balancing her storytelling technique through her lyrics on the album. The track “wish you were gay” is one of my personal favorites because it highlights Eilish’s vocal range and variety. The story of this song is about Eilish having feelings for a straight woman, and she seems as if she is struggling with the fact that they will not be together because they do not have the same sexual orientation. These types of tracks on the album are proof of Eilish’s true vocal and lyrical talent because she tells a real life story through her songs, and her storytelling ability keeps her from being overshadowed by the dominant musical elements of the album.
The combination of strong lyrics and very influential musical tracks gives this album an element of diversity that sets this album apart from her previous work, with her first EP and other singles that have been released apart from her album. Eilish is one artist who strives to break the mold in music, which is a refreshing sound to hear, especially due to all the pop music sounding very similar in today’s music.