New Billie Eilish album a tantalizing taste of artist’s introspection

Meredith Comas, Online Editor-in-Chief

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Electro-pop has a new queen, and it’s Billie Eilish.

Eilish, the 17-year-old indie electro-pop sensation dubbed “the voice of Gen Z”, has again dropped her darkly-laced rhythms and rhymes on the modern music lover, releasing her debut studio album “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?”

The album, featuring 14 tracks including “you should see me in a crown” and “wish you were gay,” already has fans across Manhattan High and the world singing not just Eilish’s new batch of lyrics, but her praises as well, her album officially becoming the most pre-added album of all time on Apple Music.

As a Billie fan since her musical debut on Soundcloud with the hit “Ocean Eyes” — which is even alluded to in “you should see me in a crown” — I can say with confidence, while terrifying, the album does not disappoint.

Upon first listen, I could tell that the album was already a work of pure of plaintive lyricism, and in the words of Eilish herself in “Intro,” a deep-dive look into her creative process and mentality surrounding her music.

The album, made up of unique jazzy sounds in combination with her usual computer-generated sound, is a long ways away from her start in music at the age of 14. Elish has broken free of her soul-searching, wave-like, electro-sound and has created a psychedelic masterpiece that truly asks the listener to get comfortable with all aspects of the human psyche — from poignant desperation to chilling thoughts of horror.

Eilish uses the ups and downs of microtonality —  the use in music of microtones or intervals smaller than a semitone, also called “microintervals”– almost as if to detail the fractured anguish of her introspective thoughts, both softly sad and darkly menacing.  

I must admit, while this album is one of my favorites, the work Eilish has put out is not necessarily for the appreciation of everyone. There were times when I found myself questioning her use of horror as an expressive tactic, feeling as if some lyrics just didn’t sit right in the confines of normalcy.

But then again, when have we ever known Eilish to give us normal?

As the album goes on, Eilish’s uses of classical, jazzy piano in songs like “Listen before i go” leaves me in awe of her ability to express such sadness and depth of emotion that can resonate so fully within her audience. I half expected to open my eyes and see Eilish sat upon the stage of a 1930s style jazz club at a unidirectional cardioid mic as her sad manner filled an imaginary crowd.

However, other songs like “ilomilo” and “my strange addiction” use a compliment of all her styles to create a bouncy, electric background that follows the commands of her breathy, quiet vocals to provide a more “three-ring” performance.

While I enjoy all her music, these are the songs that entrap me in Eilish’s fanbase.

“WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP WHERE DO WE GO” is a brilliantly sculpted album, including the songs that are harder for me to get behind, even though eventually I find myself appreciating them simply for the uniqueness of Eilish’s compositional style. I fully expect to be hearing of Eilish’s new music throughout the spring and summer and await her next musical move.

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