Written by Alessa Frenkel
I’m pretty sure we can all collectively agree that at age 15 we were awkward, insecure and didn’t have a clue of who we were or what we wanted to be in life. However, if your name is Billie Eilish and you are age 15, you’ve been signed to one of the world’s most reputable record labels (Darkroom/Interscope Records), gained more than 120m Spotify plays and 3.1m monthly Spotify listeners and have had the likes of Rolling Stone Magazine, Vogue and Billboard Magazine praise you. The usual – no big deal, right?!
But Billie Eilish is far from the usual. Being counted among today’s most promising artists, the singer has now released her highly anticipated debut EP dont smile at me (Darkroom/Interscope Records) and it is everything she encapsulates in a nutshell: innocent yet mature, mysterious, strong-willed and completely and utterly unique.
The 8-track-heavy record produced by brother Finneas O’Connell opens up with COPYCAT and speaks for the overall theme of the record: a bass heavy track filled with haunting synths, Billie’s wispy signature harmonies and clever unexpected playful lyrics that catch you off guard. Talking to Billboard Magazine, the Los Angeles native states: “I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. It’s really cliché of this to happen, because yeah, as you get more recognized and [are] more of a big deal, then people start copying everything you do. But if you’re going to do everything I do, what’s the point of even trying to be you, if you’re not even you at all?”
Signature harmonies and clever lyrics carry throughout each track with catchy one-liners: “If teardrops could be bottled/there’d be swimming pools filled by models” off of sultry piano-infused idontwannabeyouanymore, “My boy loves his friends just like I love my split ends and by that I mean/He cuts em off” off of the sassy track my boy with a distinctive haunting synth background lead or voice mail break up anthem party favor’s “And I hate to do this to you on your birthday/Happy birthday by the way/”It’s not you it’s me” and all that other bullshit” to name a few.
The EP also features her viral hit Ocean Eyes that not only caught the attention of millions of listeners online but also of Interscope, has been remixed by Astronomyy and Blackbear among others and has paved the way of her career to date. And finally, dont smile at me (a name that comes from wanting to be real and as least fake as possible with people) closes on a more solemn note with the guitar-picking raw and honest hostage. In her own words, Billie states that the song is about “when you are so in love that you feel like you can’t be without them and you can’t see them with someone else. It is not a healthy feeling but I think everyone feels it at some point.”
Overall, 15-year-old Billie displays a level of maturity well beyond her age whether that is lyrically or musically speaking. “[People] feel like you have to write about what you’re going through, and how you feel, and it can’t be anything else — and that’s just so untrue. […] Writing music is just like writing a book. It can make you more forgiving in a way, because it’s like, ‘wow, maybe I should put myself in their shoes,’” she told Billboard.
At such a tender age, she displays a clear understanding of emotional maturity as well as clear perception of her unique sound that walks the perfect line of contrasting vulnerable vocals with fierce production throughout the entire EP.
Billie Eilish has no doubt about who she is and where she is going and if her upcoming nearly sold out North American fall tour is any indicator of what’s to come the future seems to be as bright as Billie’s music chooses to be dark.
Watch Billie’s COLORS performance below: