When she was 15 years old, Billie Eilish hid razor blades in the corners of her room. “I always had Band-Aids on my wrists. He would lock me in the bathroom and make me bleed because he thought I deserved it, ”she reveals in the documentary. The World’s a Little Blurry (The world is a little blurry), premiered in 2021. For two hours and 20 minutes, it tells how a Californian teenager with a complex about her body conquered the musical world from her bedroom while drawing monsters in her diary and writing down things like: “I have an intense feeling of absolute end” , “it hurts even when it doesn’t” or “no matter what happens, I’ll always be broken”. That girl who exposed adolescent terrors in her lyrics connected like no one else with generation Z (those born between the mid-nineties and 2010) with the 2019 album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (“When we fall asleep, where do we go”). Two years later, the pop musical phenomenon of the moment returns. He has traded in his dark hair color with green streaks for an optimistic platinum blonde, a sign that he has embraced melancholy as his travel companion. And he titled the album Happier Than Ever (Happier than ever, published this Friday).
“I wish people would think when they hear the record, ‘Oh, God, I didn’t know I felt this way, but this is how I feel.’ And maybe they will make a change in their lives that will make them happier.” says the singer (Los Angeles, 19 years old) in the promotional video for the album. But in the most extensive interview she has conducted to date, for the cover of the magazine rolling stone July, he cares to make one point clear: “Almost none of the songs on this album are happy.”
Despite the title, Eilish persists in exposing some emotional anxieties that are no longer just those of an ordinary young woman stunned by a tottering world that is far from understanding her. In one of the topics NDA, talk about a date with a guy whom he takes home and when he leaves he must sign a confidentiality document so as not to divulge intimacies of the meeting. She is a megastar, in case the boy was clueless. One of the themes of the album that did not appear in the previous one is her incorporation into her life of her wicked fame. Because many things have changed since she, at the age of 14, published on the platform soundcloud his first song, Ocean Eyes. Today, Eilish has seven Grammy Awards, has acted as a star at Coachella (the most mediatic festival in the world), was number one in sales in 17 countries, has composed the theme song for a James Bond movie and adds more monthly listeners on Spotify (48.6 million) than Taylor Swift (41.3 million) or Beyoncé (32.2).
As in the previous album, she produces and advises her brother Finneas, 23 years old, the man next to the star: Eilish’s confidant and calmer. Finneas throws this desperate reflection in the documentary: “I feel like in a minefield because they have sent me [la discográfica y los mánager] write a hit, but at the same time I can’t tell Billie that we should write it. Billie, in general, hates composing. She believes that the more popular she is, the more hate she will generate on the internet.” They form a complementary team: the cerebral and practical older brother talking some sense into her talented sister, too artistic and sensitive to “want to write a hit.”
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Happier Than Ever, with 16 songs, it will not disappoint seekers of gloomy omens. The demons are still there, crouching to show up at any moment. The emotional abuse, the lack of trust, the self-assertive messages, the social media bullies (he quotes one in a lyric as “Satan”)… “Try not to abuse your power. / I thought I was special. / But you made me feel like it was my fault. / You are the devil, you lost your attractiveness”, moan in Your Power, the story of a man who exploits a minor. Fans speculate that he is referring to his now-broken relationship with rapper Brandon Quention Adams (known as 7:AMP).
Musically, the album is built from the electronic embers produced by Finneas, either in a soft tone, almost like a ballad, or in a pop key. And always with the voice as a fundamental element. Eilish expresses himself with a strange mix of vehemence and sensuality, leaving room for the listener to hear his breath. Among the inspirations for the album he has cited Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee and especially to Julie London, a Californian actress and singer with a sexy, whispery voice who had great success in the 1950s. Perhaps the young star also identifies with the personality of London (who died in 2000 at the age of 74), withdrawn and introverted and allergic to fame.
Eilish has become independent of the family home and it is foreseeable that her parents, Patrick and Maggie, will no longer travel with her on tour, as they did stickily with the previous album, when she was just a teenager. The year and a half of the pandemic has been a parenthesis for what awaits her. Katy Perry, who knows something about being in the eye of the hurricane, seems to hit the target at one point in the documentary. She goes to greet her with her partner, actor Orlando Bloom (whom Eilish, by the way, did not know: things from generation Z), to the Coachella dressing room and, between hugs and kisses, says: “Billie, you life is going to be crazy in the next 10 years, so if one day you need to talk, call me…”.
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Billie Eilish is not so depressed anymore
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