Welcome to Billie Eilish’s mind

Fiona Gillen, R1 Editor-in-Chief

Billie Eilish doesn’t play by the rules. In fact, Eilish is the epitome of everything the typical teen pop star is not. She sports electric blue hair, heavy silver chains and colorful, baggy clothing that hangs off of her small frame like it’s meant for someone twice her size. At only 17 years old, Eilish has become the newest phenomenon in the music industry and on March 29, she released her debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

Featuring 12 songs along with intro and outro tracks, Eilish’s album is, simply put, a musical and lyrical masterpiece. In classic Billie-fashion, Eilish owns her unique sound—soft and whispery but driven by a heavy bass—and combines it with brutally honest lyrics that tackle issues surrounding relationships, drugs, fame and yes, even murder.

The album’s opening track is a mere 13 seconds, jarring listeners with slurping noises followed by Eilish cackling: “I have taken out my Invisalign, and this is the album!”

Cut to the first song, “bad guy,” and her audience is immediately swept up by a heavy bass line and cutting lyrics about Eilish acting as the “bad guy” in her relationship.

Eilish is a master of harnessing the emotions of her listeners. After giving them a fast-paced anthem like “bad guy,” she brings the mood down with a ballad: “xanny.” The beginning of the song almost sounds like a lullaby. Take a closer listen, and you’ll hear Eilish question the abuse of drugs (like Xanax) and warn her generation against their recreational use, cooing: “I don’t need a xanny to feel better…don’t give me a xanny now or ever.”

The rest of Eilish’s album follows in similar fashion as she plays with the emotions of her audience. She gives them an empowering song about embracing her fame (“you should see me in a crown”), turns them on their heads with another dark and heart wrenching ballad (“when the party’s over”) and even takes on the disturbing persona of a killer (“bury a friend”).

In the era of Soundcloud singles and Spotify playlists, it’s easy to feel like the art form of album-making has been lost. Yet Eilish has produced something that tells a story, taking listeners on a journey through the deepest, darkest parts of her mind and back into the light, from start to finish. It’s honest and vulnerable—it’s Billie.

This album isn’t meant to be background music—it requires attention and care in order to fully appreciate all of the intricate details. But, like every artistic masterpiece, it’s well worth the effort.