Suppose a person interested in pop who fell into a coma in August 1987 (BAD by Michael Jackson) or also in February 1998 (Madonna’s RAY OF LIGHT) wakes up on the last Friday of July 2021, reads that the currently greatest pop star in the world has just released a new album and is listening to HAPPIER THAN EVER – oddly enough – on a portable phone. What does this person think when this album starts with the lines “I’m getting older, I think I’m aging well”, sung with the emphasis of an artist who has just been taking a nap? When two songs later the affair-ridden “Billie Bossa Nova” kicks in, who also likes twee-poppers? So if this is what the super world star of this era sounds like, what does that say about this period in the late 10s and early 20s?
Gigantism is not trendy. It’s all way too much anyway, so Billie Eilish, 19 years old, screws her superstar pop down a bit, to where feelings live. Retro also works here, but not with glamor and glamor, but with a sad look at Julie London or Marilyn Monroe, whose ballad style she approaches on pieces like “Hailey’s Comet” or “Everybody Dies”. Brother Finneas recorded these songs in his studio (no longer in his parents’ house) very intimately and only slightly washed out, they sound fantastic. Like the beat-heavy “Oxytocin”, dedicated to the cuddle hormone that creates the feeling of well-being when someone caresses us: “You know I need you for the oxytocin.” Eilish sounds like Zola Jesus, produced by Timbaland: Modern Goth remains one of them strongest profession.
In her lyrics, Eilish negotiates the circumstances of celebrity and aging, which is rather boring. In addition, there is a diffuse jealousy of the smartphone, which doesn’t knock you off your feet. But she also sings about loneliness and longing – and in the last song, to the folk guitar, she creates “Male Fantasy”: “Home alone / Trying not to eat / Distract myself with pornography.” The record is on for almost an hour, and she is entertained by the first to the last minute. The album offers the masterful title track as a paperback version, it starts like a piece from the 50s, ends with an overdriven emo part: “Just fucking leave me alone!”
If that sounds like the superstar, has the world turned out better or worse than expected? N / A?
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