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Billie Eilish’s Directorial Debut for ‘Xanny,’ Remarkably Simple Yet Haunting

A light-brown haired Billie Eilish sits perched on a beige-white couch in a sterile room. Opposite of what fans are used to seeing, Eilish dons a knit white turtleneck and matching slim pants. A damaged film overlay graces the entire video, giving it a vintage feel.

The camera zooms in on her face, and she sits perfectly still, lipsyncing the brooding vocals on “xanny.” As the video progresses, a cigarette is put out on Eilish’s face and she convulses stiffly with lidded eyes. Camera angles move up and down, disorienting the viewer as if they were on substances the pop singer is singing about.

Clouds of smoke flood the screen as Eilish starts the second verse: “Wakin’ up at sundown / They’re late to every party / Nobody’s ever sorry / Too inebriated now to dance.” Eilish abruptly stops shaking, back to her calm and sleepy posture, sitting cross-legged, never having left the bench.

The self-directed music video is simple and refreshing, a complete juxtaposition to the rest of Eilish’s filmography. Two cigarettes are burned on Eilish’s face as she reaches the second chorus, her face grimacing.

Screencap via “xanny” music video.

Cigarettes are continuously put out on her face and she shifts and contorts her body in discomfort. In these moments, her sheer command over her motions makes it obvious that Eilish has years of dance experience. The “xanny” music video is remarkably haunting in its simplicity. Eilish doesn’t wear her usual baggy clothing or neon green roots.

A lovely vertigo shot encompasses an emotional Eilish as the climax of the video as she wails, “I can’t afford to love someone / Who isn’t dying by mistake in Silver Lake.”

Eilish’s furrowed brows and emotionality pull the audience in. And after she sings the final line of the song, “Too intoxicated to be scared” she leaves the bench. The room fills with the same smoke as earlier, soft “hmms” from Eilish acting as its soundtrack.

She sings, “Come down / Hurting / Learning” as the video fades to black.

In a statement about the video, Eilish said, “I’m very excited to share my directorial debut. Visuals are so important to me, and I’m very proud to be in a place where I can present my creative vision exactly as I want it. Thank you to everyone who has put their trust in me.”

The constant shifts throughout the video reflect the ups and downs of drug abuse, the song’s main theme. Even though the “xanny” music video is toned down from what fans are used to, from Eilish’s natural-colored hair to her white outfit, it’s a beautiful change.

Watch “xanny” here.

Featured image via YouTube.

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Written By

Daryl is an 18-year-old filmmaker, writer, and photography enthusiast. He also writes for the University of Maryland's The Campus Trainer.

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