Review: When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? by Billie Eilish

When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? by Billie EilishSo, Billie Eilish. It’s an interesting release, this. When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? might compel you to link her with arguably the ultimate progenitor of her kind of pop: it was Lorde, after all, who paved the way with teenage concerns colored with drone-y gothic almost-creepiness. But then, this feels of a completely different thread. It’s like she spent all this time alone, with all these reference points, and not so much cherry-picked the best ones as to boil everything down to their essence. In almost the same breath the songs across this record feel intimate and claustrophobic, playful and sinister, truthful and evasive. Perhaps it’s the production, harsh in the right places – but then there are tracks, like “8”, where Billie takes a complete left turn and sounds stereotypical (that one’s got a ukulele backing it). But then you wonder if there’s a dark point to that. And perhaps that’s the goal. Billie’s record is a snapshot of people of her age (I wouldn’t say this if I wasn’t 30) in its confusion and, at the same time, clarity. Or something. [NB]4/5

“I lost my mind. I don’t mind.”

“Bellyache” by Billie Eilish | Spot the theme? Well, perhaps it’s all in my mind, that one about today’s song and yesterday’s having titles that start with a B and evoke a narrative of overconsumption and its aftermath. And then there’s me finally catching up on my recording of Triple J’s Good Az Friday this week – it’s been sitting on my queue for weeks, and I finally got to listen to their annual stand-up comedy special a couple of nights ago, with this song in between. I’ve read about how Billie will supposedly set the world on fire considering she’s just 15, but then, that’s hyperbole of the sort you often see from the spin cycle. That’s not to discount her; “Bellyache” is actually quite good, the way it starts from a warm guitar-led bit before going all trap on us. (Is it really trap? I am 28, I was never cool, and I can never be cool.) Like yesterday’s song it also wriggles its way into your head, but in a sublime way. And sparse, like most western pop seems to be these days. The aesthetic just feels so vaguely American. [NB]