Though she is only seventeen years old and relatively new to the music scene, Billie Eilish has already become a household name. Eilish debuted in 2016 with her haunting single, “Ocean Eyes,” which she co-wrote with brother and producer Finneas. The siblings have continued to team up on Billie’s somewhat critically contentious 2017 EP Don’t Smile at Me, leading to the release of her debut studio album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Billie has risen to the extreme heights of fame at a quicker rate than most. Now, with the debut of this album, all eyes are on her.
Billie starts this album with the brooding, almost sinister, track “bad guy.” The track sets the tone for what’s to come both sonically and lyrically. The thumping beat is spacious and intermingles within its gummy, bright synths and infectious snapping. Additionally, Billie’s snide and hazy vocals pull the entire track together. The album continues through slower, almost jazz-like tracks such as “xanny,” which presents an exciting twist on drugs in the world of pop culture, and even into broodier and gripping tracks like “you should see me in a crown.” Billie continues this array of soft, vulnerable tracks and edgy, bass-buzzing smashes which leaves the project refreshed and colorful, but never too jagged and shoved together.
As the album progresses, the tone slows down as the lyrical themes become increasingly melancholy and eldritch. The instrumentals creep into this perplexing mix of eerie yet catchy tracks that leave one feeling conflicted in a complex thematic way. This all culminates into the track “listen before i go,” as Billie essentially pours herself out in an apparent suicide note. Contextually, the track is somewhat problematic, yet, it adds some depth to Billie’s character and emotional scope, which sums up the album’s rich dynamic.
All these positives are not to say that there are no negatives to this album. Tracks like “when the party’s over,” “8” and “ilomilo” are lackluster and only serve to beef the album up. Their inclusion, however, doesn’t necessarily detract much from the rest of the masterful production and the emotional spiral that the album drags listeners down. When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? is a rich debut album and leaves me excited to hear more from the Billie and Finneas tag-team in the future.