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Billie Eilish: How to detaboo psychological suffering

Billie Eilish and her music have often been the focus of attention because of their approach to personal and political issues. The 19-year-old has already made statements against body shaming, sexism and the abuse of power by executives. Initially, she became particularly famous for the mysterious, dark, which she lived out through her music. In doing so, the singer covered a need for imperfection that is often lacking, especially in the music industry. For many listeners, one topic in particular came into the focus of their songs and later also into the life of Billie Eilish: Mental Health. The “Ocean Eyes” singer spoke openly like few people in public about her insecurities and concerns.

Feeling lonely and insecurities

Already in her 2018 released video single “When the party’s over”, the then 16-year-old explains the feeling of loneliness in togetherness. She describes the feeling of not being enough for her partner and a lack of self-esteem. Also the reverberating loneliness after a party is effectively taken up by the singer.

“Quiet when I’m comin’ home and I’m on my own

And I could lie, say I like it like that, like it like that

Yeah, I could lie, say I like it like that, like it like that”

Words that are usually not pronounced are performed by Billie Eilish and in the music video black tears run down her face to match the sensation. Having uncertain phases is usually dismissed as a taboo topic, while the singer speaks from the soul of many through the musical pick-up and makes it clear that you are not alone with it.

Identification with the monster under the bed

In her 2019 video release “bury a friend”, Billie Eilish tells the story of the monster under the bed – from his perspective. We hear a being who wonders why one does not run away at the sight of him and asks himself the question of existence through the metaphor of falling asleep.

“What do you want from me?

Why don’t you run from me?

What are you wondering?

What do you know?

Why aren’t you scared of me?

Why do you care for me?

When we all fall asleep, where do we go?”

To the song, the singer from Los Angeles already explained to speak from the point of view of a monster and sometimes to feel like this herself. She confessed that she often felt like her own enemy. Thus, the monster represents both something external, for which one should show empathy and pay attention to its sensitivity, but at the same time also a part of the self that stands in the way.

The Glory Depressions

In 2019, her single “everything i wanted” was released, whose music video shows the singer jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The track lyrically addresses the duality of celebrity and explains: Even if you seem to have everything, this does not save you from a feeling of loneliness. First of all, the relationship to her brother and songwriter Finneas is to be illuminated.

“It might’ve been a nightmare

To anyone who might care

Thought I could fly

So I stepped off the Golden

Nobody cried

Nobody even noticed

I saw them standing right there

Kinda thought they might care”

In an interview with radio announcer Annie Mac, Eilish explained that the inspiration for the song came from a nightmare of hers. In it, she would have committed suicide, but her family and friends would have shown disinterest. The singer later revealed in her interview for her first “Vogue” cover in 2019 that she herself suffers from depression and anxiety.

Billie Eilish talks about mental illness

The singer has often explained in interviews that she suffers from depression. In an interview with “Vogue” in 2019, she said she had self-injurious behavior and also suffered from suicidal thoughts. It was not until June of the same year that the depressive episode began to improve and so she gives patience as advice to all those who also suffer from mental health problems.

“When people ask me what I would say to someone who Looking for advice on mental health, I can only say: patience. I had patience with myself. I didn’t take the last step. I waited. Things fade.”

In addition, the singer also explained that she had obtained the necessary help through therapy.

Overall, Billie Eilish represents a musician who destigmatizes major taboo topics such as mental health both in her music and through her personality. Through exaggerated representations and metaphors, the 19-year-old achieves empathy and understanding among her listeners for concerns around insecurities, anxiety disorders and depression. Despite her young age, she thus takes on a role model function for many. She is aware of this. With her single “xanny”, Eilish spoke out against drug use using the example of Xanax – a medicine for anxiety and panic disorder. This is often glorified in rap songs.

You can find out more about the story of Billie Eilish, the biggest pop star of our time, in the Musikexpress issue 08/2021, available at newsstands since 15 July 2021.

Anyone who has suicidal thoughts should turn to trusted people. Often speaking already helps to clear up the thoughts, at least temporarily. Anyone who is open to further help or cares about close persons can contact the telephone pastoral care – even anonymously: They offer quick help and mediate doctors, counseling centers or clinics under the number 0800/111 01 11

Arjun Sethi
Passionate guitarist, gamer and writer. Lives for the perfect review, and scrapes texts until they are razor-sharp.


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