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Billie Eilish – 17 years old. Her career skyrocketed with her debut mixtape Don't Smile At Me when she was just 15 years old. The mixtape showcased her sweet vocal delivery and solid song writing skills that often reflected her inner emotions and struggle with an everyday society that we all can relate to. She got her brother, Finneas (also happens to be an incredible artist), as her primary producer and he co-wrote (except for "When the Party's Over" and "My Strange Addiction," which were exclusively written by Finneas) every song in this debut album WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO. As the title suggests, the entire album is based on something that occurs while you are sleeping whether it's a nightmare or lucid dream.
"You should see me in a crown" and "when the party's over" were released as the first two singles from the album. The former explores her ability to stand out from people surrounding her and realising how she can be superior to some of the people, hence "you should see me in a crown." The production on this track features Billie's soft vocals and intense hip-hop influenced beats and unique synth sounds, that really enhances the world she illustrates. "When the party's over" is a stunning slow-piano ballad where she sings about this dilemma of wanting to be around with people that she likes but wanting them to get away from her at the same time because they're being a pain. The production here is very minimal compared to some other tracks on the album. It gradually increases its tension as the emotions intensify towards the end. This kind of production really suits her vocal style.
The latest single "bury a friend" is an interesting take on self-reflection as yourself can be the worst enemy that you must confront sometimes. It's somewhat one of the most relatable songs on the album. In an interview, she said she wrote this song literally from the perspective from her own monster under her bed which reflects her depression and insecurity. The production here is the apogee of the rest of the album—it really captures the message and visions that she's trying to convey. The spooky synth sound and some layered vocals are very effective in this track.
We can hear some of the deeper cuts near the end such as "listen before i go" and "i love you" which are tear-jerkers, honestly. At this point, you would definitely notice that she's such an amazing storyteller. She is capable of convincing you to fully appreciate her artistry. "Listen before i go" is about committing suicide (obviously hypothetical) which highlights what's been happening in society now. It's a very heartbreaking moment to experience this song, yet it's so beautiful with her enticing soft voice and piano. "I love you" is perhaps the most genuine song on the album. It's again very emotional that illustrates a one-sided relationship, which sucks to be in. It is an acoustic driven ballad that hits the soul; it could be one of the soundtracks for a romantic film. The tension slowly builds up towards the second chorus, you can hear every beautiful layer in this track that is so gentle and lovely.
"Bad guy" is a fun song that has a fast tempo and heavy base that are almost danceable. Another strong production from Finneas. He's so genius! "Bad guy" portrays Billie as this malicious and dangerous girl that might cross the line to get what she wants. "Xanny" is a follow-up song that touches on a prescription drug Xanax used for anxiety treatment, but also used for its recreational purpose. The production here is also solid which reflects the effect of Xanax in her vocals. It really showcases how Billie's vocal diversity. The harmonisation here is so beautiful and smooth. Fun cuts like "all the good girl go to hell" and "wish you were gay" show her playful mind that is not only solidly written but it really tells us her intention with this project.
With Billie Eilish's debut album WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? we get to see and feel what's going on with her creative mind. It kind of reminds us of when Lorde debuted with her internationally acclaimed album Pure Heroine. While this album tends to feel more monotonic and darker, Billie still manages to deliver some of the finest alt-pop songs for us.
RATING: 4 out of 5