Billie Eilish Is the Future
I am worried about people born in the 21st century. Something deep and dark arouses our collective awareness. They see it directly. The last generation grew up with at least a decency of modesty, with the feeling that “the arch of history leads to justice.” This decade says morality goes wherever the masses do it; if they pull too hard in the wrong direction, the rest of the guild will be drawn by their preoccupation. People who come from today see hatred, selfishness, and grow without roots, violations of the law grow new. They are bombarded with bad news at a dizzying pace to process, and they live in the hope that they will be transparent about their thoughts and feelings. That doesn’t make sense. It takes superhuman peace and a bold belief that regardless of what is happening to us today, we, as a planet, will eventually be fine. That they are adaptable and not hopeless is very surprising. “Gen Z” will save the future, but only if we can get it there in one piece.
Billie Eilish is a 17-year-old singer-songwriter with pre-natural, sweet and mousy self-awareness but also a changing singing voice, and a perfect ear for melody. Eilish only wrote music for five years; he composed his first song at the age of 12 and recorded the first at age 13. He was sharper than many writers who had done it longer. He, like those who live under the age of 21 through history, is a picture of cold and aloof boredom. Eilish is not your typical millennium teenager – she was educated at home by her parents, Scottish and Irish actors Maggie Baird and Patrick O’Connell, and was encouraged in her interest in art by her sister, Finneas, who also acted, sang, wrote and produced – but his music resonates because he is able to articulate the absurdity of young American experiences with intelligence, tenderness, and brutal honesty. When We All Fall Asleep’s debut album, Where Do We Go? it is a calm, complicated and delicate revolution, sweet but sometimes spiny, like a berry in a thorn bush.
Fall asleep not without the precedent of pop music. Eilish and Finneas’ production used dance-pop and hip-hop as launchpads into their own strange flight. Rough EDM rap DNA from Kanye West’s Yeezus is present in “You Should See Me in a Crown.” “Bad Guy” and “Bury a Friend” both serve on insular by taking, interesting, electropop landmarks from intermediate aughts such as Britney Spears Blackout. But something was naughty about that approach. “My Strange Addiction” mimicked the synth bud of Mustard’s hit, but the mix was haunted by the sound of fingers running up and down the guitar strings, and the song was repeatedly broken for a sample dialogue from The Office. “8” is an ukulele song that manipulates the voice of a singer to make his voice half his age. “Xanny” mimics the pill height; the tempo slowed to a slow crawl, each beat of the drum landed right behind the time to feel unexpected, because the noise from the room was like open water.
The brothers made deadly piano ballads, regional songs, and underestimated pure pop songs. Vocals are stacked and tucked into strange formations. “Goodbye” fits in pretty harmony for dark messaging like the Beatles classic “Because”; “Bury a Friend” flanks the singer’s main vocal with creepy male vocals, Bon Iver style. Asleep is a strange post-Reputation pop album that seems versatile and post-genre with a mere function of taste and creativity, rather than recording company decisions.
Billie Eilish’s production twisted familiar sounds into unknown forms, but the lyrics shifted between dramatic poetic lines of deliberate and gentle breeze from a journal entry. “Xanny” wonders why people use drugs at parties, which seem to come from the middle: “I’m smoking secondhand smoke / Still just drinking canned Coke / I don’t need Xanny to feel better.” “The duet with English rapper Crooks, written from the point of view of the monkey proverb under the bed, is tired and loses the desire to live. This is teenage preoccupation, but Eilish’s mixture of piety and artificial performance, Instagram candor save these songs from what seems ridiculous, except in the case of “Wish You Were Gay,” where the singer arrogantly tries to justify the lack of interest interested in his interests as a side effect of the fact that he prefers men. (Eilish then finds out that he did it.)
The album ends with a terrifying death spiral of three songs that are obsessed with aspects of unhealthy depression, reflecting on the end of life with the sound of police sirens and later, what seems to be the hospital’s voice. Placing the overcrowded and incredible “I Love You” song, one of the best songs on this album, in the midst of this melodrama it almost got worse, adding a layer of unnecessary darkness to a song that worked beautifully as a glimmer of hope. As with other runaway albums that are stylish by millennials, such as Born to Die or Lana Del Rey’s Badlands Halsey, When We Fall asleep, Where Do We Go? almost in tune with his aesthetic darkness, although he refused to fixate his previous album campy on damned young stars and the album’s embarrassing lyrics. Even when Eilish was playing with a cliched naughty girl trophy, like she did with “All the Good Girls Go to Hell,” she made an impressive line: “Even God himself has enemies.”
Apart from a few moments when its enchanting gloom approached caricatures, Asleep often dazzled and doubled for debut albums by someone who wasn’t even old enough to choose. Eilish considers foolish that young people do not have more voice in the world, all things considered. “The world will end,” he told NME earlier this year, “and to be honest I don’t understand the law that says you have to be older to choose, because they will die soon, and we have to deal with that.” 18 years about our political and ecological problems, as citizens who look at 50-70 years on the planet (unlike those who govern them, who are considered authorities with land tenure functions, and who burns resources like they don’t care what happens next?? That can’t be worse than we are now.