Billie Eilish’s new album is Happier than Ever and more mature than ever. Eilish rose to fame in 2015 with her debut single “Ocean Eyes” and cemented her pop stardom with the Grammy-winning album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?.
Although Eilish is often known for her candor, her sophomore album delves deeper into mental health, the effects of fame at a young age, toxic relationships, and more. The album opens with “Getting Older ” where a 19-year-old Eilish discusses growing up in the limelight and unwanted sexual attention: “There’s a lot I’m grateful for / But it’s different when a stranger’s always waitin’ at your door.”
This is a theme she continues throughout the album in “Your Power,” which allegedly tells the story of an older man taking advantage of Eilish when she was a minor: “And you swear you didn’t know (Didn’t know) / You said you thought she was your age”
In an interview with BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac, Eilish revealed that the song “is about a lot of different things. It’s sadly very relatable for people … And everyone is someone or knows someone who’s been taken advantage of.”
Eilish is no stranger to criticism, and as many women in the music industry, has received a large part of it based on her appearance. Eilish opens up about this in the spoken-word track “Not My Responsibility.” “The body I was born with, is it not what you wanted? / If I wear what is comfortable, I am not a woman. / If I shed the layers, I’m a slut,” Eilish whispers.
In “Billie on OverHeated,” Eilish revealed that she and her long-term producer and brother, FINNEAS, took the production from “Not My Responsibility” and turned it into a beat for “OverHeated,” which explores many of the same themes around fame and paparazzi.
If the album as a whole is low-key, “Halley’s Comet” is stripped down to its pure essence as a love song. Eilish croons, “I’ve been loved before, but right now, in this moment / I feel more and more like I was madе for you / For you.” There’s no clever vocals or surprising production twists, just honesty and love.
“Happier Than Ever,” the album’s title track, finds Eilish telling of one of her exes. On Spotify, Eilish called this song, “the most therapeutic song I’ve ever written or recorded, like ever, ever, ever ‘cause I just screamed my lungs out and could barely talk afterwards, which was very satisfying to me somehow. I had wanted to get those screams out for a very long time and it was very nice too.” The song begins with a soft and unimposing melody but it crescendos into an explosive track with scream-worthy lyrics and shimmering harmonies. Simply put, this song is Eilish at her best.
Musically, the album contains many of the same trademarks that Eilish is famous for — whispered vocal tones, trippy and electronic-based sounds, and clever production — but this album is more muted than her previous projects. Everything from the tracks to her vocals is refined and deliberate. With this album, Eilish shows “Her Power” through minimal but intentional production, honesty, and immeasurable maturity and self-reflection.