Album Review: Billie Eilish – “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?”

Billie Eilish’s debut full-length is one of the most anticipated albums of the year, and the singer-songwriter has definitely delivered something worth the buzz. WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? has been talked about by artists of all genres. Eilish’s unmistakable vocals and creativity when it comes to production have pushed her to the  front of the conversation when people are talking about the future of pop. The album, along with Eilish’s previous releases, were all produced with her brother and collaborator, FINNEAS, in the childhood home the duo grew up in. The siblings are living proof that the most creative works can come from environments where you’re encouraged to create freely, in spite of a world that often tells us the opposite.

The first track opens with Eilish taking out her Invisaline and laughing alongside her brother before launching into the track “bad guy.” Thinking about the level of pressure that comes with being an ever present figure on social media in the past year, it is refreshing to hear her take some comedic liberties throughout the album. The latest single from the album is a fast-paced joyride of an introduction where Eilish sings about the typical bad boy, while declaring herself as the real bad guy of the story. The lyric “might seduce your dad type” is almost a meme that you can’t help but sing along to.

The debut single of the album, “you should see me in a crown,” is a bass-heavy announcement of Eilish coming for the dark-pop throne. It’s an attention grabbing track that captures what is exciting about Eilish; her willingness to be confident in the face of everyone that tells you to be normal. While that confidence is welcome, it’s not always used to her advantage. “wish you were gay,” is one of the tracks Eilish allows herself to be vulnerable in regards to romantic songs. While it’s admittedly a good song, it’s also the level of problematic that isn’t really wanted or needed in 2019. 

“when the party’s over” is a quiet and introspective track that sees Eilish vocalizing her need for space.  “8” is the flip-side of that conversation, taking the perspective of the one who has been hurt in the relationship. The track proves that the use of a drum track doesn’t have to be a death sentence of redundancy. Both tracks exemplify Eilish and FINNEAS’ ability to craft songs from a variety of perspectives that all breathe authenticity.

“my strange addiction” samples the iconic episode of The Office, “Threat Level Midnight,” where Michael Scott has created his own movie and has a showing for his employees. Between the sample and the title being based on a television show, the track creating by being inspired by what is being produced around us. The track itself is catchy and easy to bop along to. The lyrics are noteworthy and worth reading alongside listening to the song.

Some of the lyrics throughout the album are so visceral in imagery amongst tracks that would be well suited to dance along to blindly, it maintains the tone of the entire album even as the tracks vary sonically. The track “bury a friend” includes lyrics “step on the glass, staple your tongue,” that capture the cringe-worthy (in a good way), nightmarish imagery Eilish was going for. It features an appearance from Eilish’s friend Crooks who opens the track with her name. It’s a song that is so clearly a Billie Eilish song that it’s impressively clear that she has a specific vision for every track she releases.

WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? constantly flips between really heavy production and softer instrument based pieces that showcase her vocals without the help of a computer.There’s a level of nonchalance that Eilish takes with her into every track that stands out amongst the bass-heavy production. The album title poses a question that sounds worthy of being explored within the confines of a scary movie. Eilish holds onto this with lyrics so visceral in imagery that you can’t help but visualize, and ultimately released an album that has deservedly captured the attention of everyone.



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