Album walkthrough: Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
April 05, 2019 · 3 Minute Read
Billie Eilish has come a long way since the 2016 release of her hit single “Ocean Eyes“. Her debut EP, Don’t Smile At Me, was a surprise global chartbuster making her debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, one of the most anticipated records of 2019.
Following in the vein of musicians like Lana Del Rey and Lorde, Billie’s music carried with a sense of melancholy. But, with When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, Billie has created an album that is as fun, upbeat and hilarious as it is moody, dark and low-key.
Fourteen track long and clocking over 48 minutes, the studio album conjures up vivid imagery through its lyrics.
Depressing, dark, sad and sometimes edgy, here’s what you need to know about the album, track-by-track:
1.“!!!!!!!” – At 13-seconds, the opening track is the shortest on the album. It’s a recording of a joyous Billie who has removed her Invisalign before she introduces us to the album.
2. “bad guy” – Released as the fifth single, “bad guy” is a playful, bass-heavy track that features some of the most salacious lyrics Billie has written. With sticky, playful synth in the background, “bad guy” serves as a brash, aesthetic opener. The song has Billie taunting her lover, flaunting her tough nature while questioning his own.
3. “xanny” – An antithesis of most modern rap songs, “xanny” has Billie wondering why everyone chooses to numb themselves with the common prescription drug Xanax. She complains about rampant recreational drug use with a sense of defeat in her voice. Another bass-heavy track with a distorted feel, “xanny” uses sparse bits of bass guitar, piano, a dirty bass synth, and a heavy 808 bass on the bridge.
4. “you should see me in a crown” – Inspired by a James Moriarty dialogue from the popular television show Sherlock, “you should see me in a crown” is cocky, lively, and easily one of the most devilish tracks of 2019 so far.
5. “all the good girls go to hell” – Dealing with Christian and Biblical imagery, “all the good girls go to hell” is a risqué track with clever lyricism. Billie references and twists Christian symbolism in a song with low-fi production, soaring synthesisers, and groovy bass guitar rhythm.
6. “wish you were gay” – This song is as fragile as it’s hilarious. Dealing with heartbreak, it has Billie wishing her crush was gay as that’d be a more acceptable reality than rejection. With acoustic intro and glowing piano, “wish you were gay” is also tongue-in-cheek with its use of audience reactions.
7. “when the party’s over” – Starting off with a calming hum, “when the party’s over” is a song about separation. Billie sings about putting distance between her and her lover in pristine high notes over glorious piano. “when the party’s over” continues the signature feel of melancholy.
8. “8” – The eighth track utilises unique vocal mixing and production elements. On “8“, Billie sings about disappointment and longing in the voice of a child which gradually turns into haunting vocals. The song features the use of ukulele with twinkling synth in the background.
9. “my strange addiction” – Using snippets from the TV show The Office (Season 7 Episode 17), “my strange addiction” is a bouncy, upbeat track. The song has most likely been named after the TLC documentary series My Strange Addiction; a show about people with compulsive behaviours.
10. “bury a friend” – One of the darkest tracks on the album, it has been written from the perspective of the monster under Billie’s bed. It details her confusing relationship with this entity, ambiguously setting her up to be the monster herself. It employs corrosive synth tunes along with loud bass.
11. “ilomilo” – A song about the yearning to be together, “ilomilo” is a dreary, mysterious track. Billie’s voice melts and dissolves with tender piano notes in the background as she sings about fear of separation.
The titles of the next three songs, when read together, intentionally form a complete sentence.
12. “listen before i go” – Slow-paced with a striking grim tone, Billie sings about suicide on “listen before i go“. On this beautifully rendered track, Billie warns her lover to hurry up and listen to her before she kills herself.
13. “i love you” – A soft acoustic ballad, “i love you” is centred around the struggles and feelings that arise from a complicated relationship. It’s also the only track to feature vocal harmonies by Billie’s brother and producer Finneas O’Connell.
14. “goodbye” – An eerie sounding track, the lyrics for
“goodbye” are a culmination of each song featured on the album. According to internet rumour, the track could be about rapper XXXTentacion’s death, but this hasn’t been confirmed.