Review of Eilish's WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?
By Mike McDonald (‘19)
On Friday March 29, 17-year-old alternative singer Billie Eilish released her first full-length album, to her delight of her fans. This album features 14 songs, and is about 43 minutes long. Although this album deals with dark themes, it is a fan favorite among Eilish’s group of passionate fans.
The album opens with a 14 second segment called “!!!!!!!”, in which Eilish comments that she has “taken out [her] Invisalign”, and declares to her fans that “this is the album”.
The first lyrical song, “Bad Guy”, which is a song about rebellion. Eilish claims that she is “the bad type, make your mama sad type, make your girlfriend type, might seduce your dad type”, and declares that she is “the bad guy”.
Eilish references her “mommy” that “likes to sing along with [her] but she won’t sing this song” if her mother reads and analyzes Eilish’s lyrics. This song showcases why Eilish is well liked by her fans - she has creative lyrics and a catchy melody.
Moving on to “Xanny”, the first slow song, Eilish opens up about the problems of her friends’ drug addictions (“Xanny” is a reference to the anxiety drug Xanax, which is sometimes used recreationally). Eilish assures the viewers that despite being “in the second-hand smoke”, she is “still just drinking canned Coke”, and passionately declares that she doesn’t “need a Xanny to feel better”.
Eilish, who reveals that she is the designated driver for her friends, says that she is “the only one who’s not stoned”, and again passionately tells the audience “don’t give [her] a Xanny now or ever”.
The second verse focuses on how her drug-addicted friends are “late to every party”, unapologetic, and “too inebriated... to dance”. In perhaps the saddest moment of the song, she describes how her friends are hungover and hurting, so they just take drugs again.
After power-ballad “You Should See Me In A Crown”, is religious-themed song “All The Good Girls Go to Hell”. The message of this song is that nobody is innocent, and will most likely end up in Hell.
Perhaps the track the stands out the most is the auto-biographical song, “Wish You Were Gay”. The song, which predictably received criticism, is based on a crush that Eilish had on a guy who did not like her back. Eilish questions why the boy does not like her back, and wishes there was a “12-step just for you”, and reveals that he never texts her back (“our conversation’s all in blue, 11 Heys”). Because of this, Eilish sings that she “just kinda wish you were gay… to give [his] lack of interest an explanation”. Eilish tells him not to “say I’m not your type, just say that [she’s] not [his] preferred sexual orientation”. This track is notable because it features Eilish incorporating a countdown in her lyrics.
“Bury A Friend”, which contains the lyric that inspired the album (“When we all fall asleep, where do we go?”), is a song where Eilish declares “I wanna end me”, and “honestly I thought that I would be dead by now”. This song is followed by “Ilomilo”, a reference to the internet game of the same name and again mentions her dead friends (“the friends I’ve had to bury, they keep me up at night… I don’t wanna be lonely, so tell me you come home, even if it’s just a lie”).
The last three songs are, “Listen Before I Go”, “I Love You” and “Goodbye”, which Eilish had said in past interviews that the three last songs are meant to read as a suicide note (Listen before I go, I love you, Goodbye). “Listen Before I Go” is the saddest song on the album, while “I Love You” is fairly forgettable, and “Goodbye” is, at the very least, creative because it features lyrics from the past songs on the album and ends with the lyric “I’m the bad guy”, bringing it back to the first lyrical track on the album.
Overall, this is an incredibly impressive album for Eilish, who is only 17-years-old, and proves that she is on a very successful path in her career, although some lyrics may cause fear for Eilish’s well being (specifically “Listen Before I Go”, which Eilish has claimed is not auto-biographical, but only her playing a character). Eilish is certainly an artist to watch, and it is clear that she is not going away anytime soon.