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Billie Eilish: “Happier Than Ever” – She can’t wait to meet her future

  • Sylvia Staude

    FromSylvia Staude


And the audience can also be quite excited after billie Eilish’s impressive second album.

I sign my record deal! After a year of boring meetings with adults who had no idea how to talk to a fourteen-year-old.” In the photo belonging to this text you can see that Billie Eilish wears her hair silver white. A few pages further forward, under pictures of hair dyeing, it says: “I felt like I was myself for the first time.” She or her hair will next turn black like that of a goth. They turn neon green and black. This is probably the phase in which most adults, including the reviewer, became aware of her: a neon green crown is a signal.

What is not yet to be found in the photo volume “By – Billie Eilish”, which appeared simultaneously in several countries and languages in early summer: The latest transformation, brought into the world spectacularly on the cover of “Vogue”, a transformation that this time is not limited to the hair, but also includes the once so sloppy clothes. OMG, she’s suddenly platinum blonde and sexy like Marilyn and laced up in a tight pink bodice, that’s how it went through the media. Is she serious?

Does it matter if she is serious? Relax, guys, would you say she’s 19, she’s been a superstar for quite a while, that’s darn exhausting – and would you rather she didn’t have fun?

Billie Eilish’s new, second album, called “Happier Than Ever”, has just been released, happier than ever; on the cover she looks anything but happy and yes, the title could be meant ironically. Especially when the title song starts like this: “When I’m away from you / I’m happier than ever”. The narrator wishes it wasn’t like that, but the guy makes her “fucking sad” (a warning about “explicit content” is on the cover), because “I’d never treat me this shitty”, I wouldn’t treat myself so shit. Since her first “real” self-written song was supposedly about zombies, when she was eleven, she has by no means shifted to the usual heart-pain-I-love-you-but-love-you-me-also-standard program.

Billie Eilish O’Connell writes and arranges her songs together with her four years older brother Finneas Baird O’Connell – to him she can “say anything”. She does this publicly with every song created in this way, she is a young woman of clear words.

Album and book

Billie Eilish: Happier Than Ever. Universal Music.

Billie Eilish: By – Billie Eilish. A. d. Engl. by Viola Krauß. Piper, Munich 2021. 336 p., 20 Euro.

Many of the lyrics on “Happier Than Ever” are straightforward, pleasantly cliché-free. And even if their female fans undoubtedly lead a completely different life, their lovers certainly do not (have to) sign “NDA” – NDA stands for Non Disclosure Agreement – they should have thiefish fun with how Billie Eilish informs the guys. Here with a “I have changed my plans” (“My Future”), there with “you are a hopeless case” (“Lost Cause”), there with the announcement that she is probably not responsible for what others see in her (“Not My Responsibility”): “Do my shoulders provoke you? Does my chest? / Am I my stomach? / My hips?” Do you want me to be quiet, she asks.

That is certainly not the one. It’s just right how she whispers, whispers, breathes to her listeners. How she leans over to you, seems to put her mouth almost on your ear, so that sometimes you think you even hear the tiny sound with which she closes or opens her lips. Billie Eilish cultivates a very intimate way of singing. Every little tremor in the voice, every round of the just wafer-thin tone may be calculated, at the same time the lecture seems light, casual. Like a straightforward one: now I’ll tell you something, come closer.

Brother Finneas may have the perfect feeling for bringing out his sister’s whispering vocals by means of sparing plinking, sometimes acoustic guitar – at the same time there is nothing wrong with the singer knowing exactly what she wants. “Directed by Billie Eilish” is recently briefly on the edge of the video for the song “Therefore I Am”, in which she explains to a – presumably male – addressee: “I’m not your friend”. In an empty shopping mall, she turns over counters, snapst get junk food and stuff it with a look in your mouth that says: You have nothing to say to me. And no, I’m not your girlfriend.

Billie Eilish, for which there is now a lot to be said, seems to bring the robustness, wit, self-irony for a life as a superstar. The courage to clarify things, preferably not in any interview, but directly in the song. She also makes good music. There are 16 songs on “Happier Than Ever”, none is really weak, some come anything but off the peg and slip immediately into your ear and brain. And sometimes in the feet, such as the “Billie Bossa Nova”, which, despite all the musical niceness, also has rough edges and ends: “I’m not sentimental”.

Billie Eilish sings as if to grab the bull by the horns, on this album first about getting older (“Getting Older”) and confidently declares: “I think I’m aging well”. Then comes “My Future” in fourth place, the song will probably play a role in every review.

Because someone doesn’t need to hope that she will drive him home and come in with her, that she will fall in love with him, that she will feel lonely without him, “without someone” – “but aren’t I someone?”, am I not someone? I’ll see you in a few years, she sings-whispers, because now I’m in love with my future and can’t wait to meet her.

Surely she will encounter many a strong Billie Eilish album on the way. You can look forward to it, no matter what hair color she prefers.

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


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