Album Review: Redefining pop music with unconventional style, Billie Eilish debuts album ‘When we all fall asleep, where do we go?’

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Students celebrated the Holi Color Festival on the quad last Saturday.

Francesca Keeler

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past week, you’ve probably seen or heard the name Billie Eilish.

On Spotify’s United States top-50 chart, Eilish occupies seven of the top ten spots. Her rise to fame has been meteoric – at the young age of 17, Eilish boasts seven gold and two platinum singles, has secured modeling contracts and has nearly sold out a world tour, according to The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)

Eilish’s recent debut album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” encapsulates the many facets of Eilish’s image and style. The album consists of stripped down, experimental pop that portrays a kind of informality and intimacy. Her style is unique in pop music these days, yet the album has comfortably overtaken major artists on the charts such as Ariana Grande and Post Malone.

The sound is both modern and classic as Eilish layers her quiet voice over trap beats and synths. The recent album was inspired by nightmares and lucid dreams, leading to a balance of dark, grim-sounding songs about death. 

Those songs include “bury a friend,” and more vulnerable songs that give us a glimpse inside the mind and insecurities of Eilish, like and “xanny” and “when the party’s over, according to The Guardian.

“Xanny” addresses the glorification of drugs in pop culture, and shows us Eilish’s self-aware side. Lines such as “Please don’t try to kiss me on the sidewalk/On your cigarette break/I can’t afford to love someone/Who isn’t dying by mistake in Silver Lake,” show Eilish’s sincereness for keeping the people she loves around.

“When the party’s over” is about the loneliness that comes with the confusion of growing up. The topics are dark, yet they give teenage angst a new face that teenagers today seem to be able to relate to.

Overall, this is a very strong album that showcases Eilish’s ability to bounce back and forth between cynicism and vulnerability, featuring great producing that is minimalistic yet refreshing in an industry that sometimes goes overboard.

For a 17-year-old, this album goes above and beyond, and I’m looking forward to seeing her further evolve as an artist. 

It is hard to believe that this is only the beginning of her career. Her brilliance is evident as American teenagers have embraced and celebrated her odd approach to music and stardom, waiting for other artists to catch up.

Eilish was raised in Highland Park, Los Angeles. She is no stranger to art since her parents are both actors and her brother produces her music. In an interview with Vogue, she explained that she was homeschooled as a child and she joined a choir group at age eight.

At only 11-years-old, Eilish began writing and singing her own music inspired by her brother Finneas, who was also writing music with his band at the same time.

Her first single “Ocean Eyes” went viral on SoundCloud in 2016. The airy, emotional ballad accompanied by gloomy synths captured a young fan base that would stick around for the ride to come.

Eilish quickly stood out, defying pop’s status quo by switching and melding genres, wearing baggy, androgynous, clothing and casting bored and listless looks at cameras. She refused to bow to an industry that expects women to cater to a certain gaze and maintain a girly image.

Her music videos are disturbing at times, appearing to be from a horror movie. Eilish’s creepy image and unconventional style distances her from the standard manufactured teen pop star. She seems years ahead of her counterparts: conducive, bold and cynical.

She is a modern star who doesn’t want to pretend like the world is perfect.