Now 16 years old, Billie Eilish (whose dark-pop sound, simple-yet-insightful lyrics, and unique style have been compared to Lorde) is taking the industry by storm.
She gained popularity when she was only 15 and is now often referred to as pop’s next “It” girl, even gaining a spot on BBC sound of 2018. Although her music is “pop,” her sound is certainly not like any of the bubbly singles you’ve heard on the radio. Her voice has a chilled but charismatic quality as she constantly delivers deliciously cutting and comical lyrics with astute wryness. Eilish started gaining attention last year with the release of her debut single “Ocean Eyes,” a haunting ballad written by her brother, Finneas, who is also a singer.
“Ocean Eyes” might have been the song that got Eilish noticed, but “bellyache” is where we truly get a taste and a feel for the exact type of music Eilish creates.
It is a devilishly dark song in which she sings about how she killed her friends and lay their bodies in her car (yeah, most listeners don’t really catch that the first time around). It is clear that Eilish does not play the innocent card and she is not your cookie cut pop-star.
Her debut EP “dont smile at me” which was released August 2017 and was produced by her brother Finneas, has a pretty literal title. In an interview with Bazaar, the singer says
“I hate smiling. It makes me feel weak and powerless and small. I’ve always been like that; I don’t smile in any pictures.”
One of the many stands out track from her EP is “COPYCAT.” It is a don’t-eff-with-me anthem that makes a bold opening statement for the singer.
The rest of the songs on the album are styled with lowercase titles like “watch,” “party favor,” and “bellyache.” But “COPYCAT” sticks up a visible—and unavoidable—middle finger to her peers she felt were emulating her style and behavior. In her Genius Verified interview, she says she was inspired to write the song due to a girl who kept copying everything she did.
Eilish’s cold and intimidating persona is further displayed in her track “party favor,” a wistful ukulele ballad structured as a voicemail message to a boy she’s dumping. Halfway through, she makes a heartless cruel reveal: “And I hate to do this to you on your birthday / Happy birthday, by the way.”
The last track on the EP, “hostage,” is when she strikes a balance between human relatability and a bit of a psychotic edge.
It starts off sweet and mournful: She wonders about her lover and their unhealthy relationship, as she beautifully harmonizes with her brother. Then, in the same melancholy, lovelorn tone, she flips a switch so subtle you might miss it on first listen.
There are still many years ahead for this young artist and alongside her record label, Interscope Records, she has the potential to be everyone’s new favorite artist.