Since the smashing debut of her first EP “dont smile at me”, L.A. born artist Billie Eilish has once again hit the charts with her unique, melancholic sounds in her brand new album titled, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?. With her brother, Finneas O’Connell, co-producing, together the sibling pair convey an overall dark, menacing and haunting sound with this new track list complete with the single teasers to the album such as “when the party’s over” and “bury a friend”. The hype and anticipation surrounding the release of the album paid off well for the 17-year-old as it topped the Billboard 200 list just as it released towards the end of March.
Opening with “!!!!!!!”, the short thirteen second snippet really highlights the intimacy in which the album was created, as Eilish slurps and says, “I have taken out my Invisalign and this is the album!” The combined laughter of her and her brother emphasizes that the production of this album was nothing more than a combined effort to convey the messages that Eilish was trying to unfold about herself and the world. This is undoubtedly showcased in the songs, “wish u were gay” and “xanny”, as both of the songs feature a somber sound that accompany poignant lyrics. “wish u were gay” edges onto being hopeless yet whimsical in reference to a guy that isn’t interested in Eilish so she simply wishes that he was gay as to not damage her ego while “xanny” speaks out against drug usage in order to suppress one’s feelings. The lyrics can only be explained by the comfortable environment and relationship that she shares with her brother to speak on these issues and scenarios.
The album also features a wide variety of sound as some of the songs reveal the playful and interesting integration of different noises and tones that contribute to the overall mood of the songs. The song “8” begins with what sounds like a ukulele until there’s a series of bass and autotuned “da-da-dums” to compliment her sing-songy lyrics. The layers of sound and simple rhythm strengthen the sorrowful tone of the song, allowing listeners to really hear the story that she tells. Yet another example of this artful integration of sound is in the song “my strange addiction,” where Eilish cleverly inserts a few dialogues from the American show, “The Office.” This adds to the overall catchiness and uniqueness of the song, separating it from the rest of the track list as it tells its story while outlining Eilish’s own unparalleled personality.
To close out the album, “goodbye” is simply a compilation of snippets of lyrics coming from the other songs of the LP combined with the sensation of hearing Eilish singing softly and distantly. It’s a clever technique to wrap up the album, summing it up in a two minute song that ends on a quiet note.
Together, the song list speaks to Eilish’s fascination with night terrors and sleep paralysis, which she’s experienced along with a complicated relationship with her subconscious. Eilish says that, “It’s not that the whole album is a bad dream, it’s just… surreal”. It’s not about the dreams themselves but about the impressions that come along that are conveyed in her music along with the struggle of fighting feelings of depression and self-loathing. Together, Eilish and her brother create the perfect list of songs that feel as though they surround yet touch your inner heartache. The beginning of her world tour will start in San Francisco, California, starting on May 29th.