WP 1: Annotated Playlist
all the good girls go to hell
No Time To Die
Not My Responsibility
Billie Eilish: The Light and The Darkness
(A playlist curated to show the diversity of Billie Eilish throughout her career)
Born on December 18, 2001, Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell came into the world as a musical force to be reckoned with. Growing up in Los Angeles with two artistic parents that believed children should have the ability to spend time doing what they love, Billie followed her passions. Whether it was choreographing dances or writing music with her producer/songwriter older brother, she cultivated her art in several forms. While her life may seem effortless and fun, Billie struggles with severe, debilitating mental health problems like depression, anxiety, and OCD, as well as being medically diagnosed with Tourettes. Billie Eilish’s music can be described as dark pop as many of her songs are about “heavy” topics and showcase raw emotions of depression and angst. She loves to use electronics, heavy bass, keyboard, drums, and of course, her famous soft vocals. She has released an EP and two albums within her 4 year career.
1st Album: don’t smile at me
Track 1: ocean eyes
Billie’s first ever hit single titled, “ocean eyes” was the song that set her musical career in fast-forward motion. Originally written for her dance studio to use during one of their recital showcases, 13 year old Eilish never intended for her song to go “viral”. Written in her older brother, Finneas’ room, Eilish experimented with bass, light vocals and clarinet/saxophone instrumental solos. The song follows a young girls experience with her first love, and how infatuation can be such a strong feeling.
Some lyrics include:
No fair / You really know how to make me cry when you give me those ocean eyes
Im scared / I’ve never fallen from quite this high
Into your ocean eyes
The song also shows how a first love can leave with a fear of being devastatingly heartbroken, and opening yourself up to that vulnerability can be difficult.
Track 2: idontwannabeyouanymore
One of her most ever streamed songs, “idontwannabeyouanymore” tells the story of a young woman who is extremely dissatisfied with herself, her body and who she is becoming. A story of someone who feels like they will never be good enough, and someone who wants to hide away from the unrealistic expectations of society. A story that resembles exactly the type of imposter syndrome Eilish felt as she moved into the public eye. Carried by beautiful piano solos and soft vocals, Billie sings with more emotion than the prior, every verse. Each verse floating away as the next piano solo begins.
Honorable lyrics include:
If teardrops could be bottled / There’d be swimming pools filled by models
Tell the mirror what you know she’s heard before
I don’t wanna be you / I don’t wanna be you anymore
2nd Album: WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?
Track 3: xanny
If you thought Eilish’s EP “don’t smile at me” had a somber tone, meet her debut album, “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?” Featuring songs about suicide, death by drug usage, and how addiction can ruin the lives of you and those around you, this album brings up arguably taboo topics that are worth discussing. In her song “xanny”, Eilish showcases her relationship with her friends and higher ups in Hollywood and their drug addictions. As Eilish has preached before, she is against drug usage and alcohol use.
Memorable lyrics include:
I’m in their second-hand smoke / Still just drinking canned coke
I don’t need a xanny to feel better / On designated drive homes
Only one who’s not stoned / Don’t give me a xanny
Now or ever / To feel better
Written at 17 years old, Billie uses her soft tones to try and spread the message about how drugs can “fog” the relationships around you. With steady drum beats, it is clear to hear the message through her poetic and hypocritical lyrics of how drug use can look fun and be romanticized, but the realities of it are devastating.
Track 4: bad guy
The song that skyrocketed Billie to world fame, and on to win four Grammys at the 2020 awards show, “bad guy” shocks listeners with its upbeat electronic and experimental instrumental sounds. Still including Billie’s famous “whisper tone”, she also includes a more fun, almost jokingly sound that leaves the listener feeling empowered rather than sad.
I’m only good at being bad / I like when you get mad
I guess I’m pretty glad that you’re alone
You say she’s scared of me? / I mean.. I don’t see she sees but maybe its cause
Im wearing your cologne / I’m the bad guy
The song encompasses an individual that is finding their footing in the world around them, finally feeling empowered in an almost sort of dominant way. Proving to society that they are in charge of the direction their life goes in, and that everyone should be intimidated because “I am coming up.”
Track 5: all the good girls go to hell
Arguably her most controversial song on the entire album, “all the good girls go to hell” shocked audiences as it made religiously offensive comments and made references to how hell and the devil would be a better option than God and heaven. With an upbeat sound and old organ/vampire sounding keyboard, this song gives the listener a sense of haunt and evil.
Man is such a fool, why are we saving him?
Poisoning themselves now / begging for our help, wow
Hills burn in California / don’t say I didn’t warn ya
Once the water starts to rise and heavens out of sight
Shell want the devil on her team
My Lucifer is lonely / My God is gonna owe me
The song is loosely about how society has become so corrupt. How people have started treated others and the world around them is dying. Billie has been a vegan her entire life and she touches on how all of these people that claim to be so “godly” and commit no sin, are the ones who are destroying the earth and excluding groups of people based off of romantic differences and racial differences. Billie is a very big ally in the LGBTQ+ community as well as led protests for BLM and has even performed at the Democratic Convention.
Track 6: my future
Between her second and third album, Billie released the song, “my future” in the middle of quarantine. After coming down from what was going to be the most exciting year of her life, having won 7 Grammys in January 2020 and preparing for a world tour starting in March 2020, Billie Eilish’s career came to a stand still when the pandemic ravaged from country to country. She also admittedly fell back into a depression as she broke up with her boyfriend (who was obviously using her for fame and to advertise his rap career).
In the song, “my future” Billie assures not only herself through her lyrics, but the listener that they will be okay, and even if you are alone, you do not have to see this as a negative thing. Use the solitude to grow and become a more positive person, as well as more confident with yourself and remember that it is all a part of your own individual journey. Instrumentation includes piano, soft vocals, light bass and drums.
I’m in love with my future / And you don’t know her / Can’t wait to meet
Just wanna get to know myself
I’m in love / but not with anybody here
Know I’m supposed to be unhappy without someone / but aren’t I someone?
3rd Album: Happier than Ever
Track 7: Your Power
The track, “Your Power” encompasses the very familiar story of sexual, emotional and physical abuse as well as grooming. Eilish was in an intimate relationship with a man who was 24 when she was 16, although she was not public about it due to it being illegal. But in her mind, he was her first love and she was blinded by his genuine motives (to further his musical career at her emotional expense). The song gives other individuals who have been in similar abusive relationships or any sort of unequal relationship that used power to control. Billie wants this song to be used as an outlet to release resentment, and calls out abusers because they “know better”. She hopes it be used for people to find the confidence to speak out about their abuse and seek help.
Some lyrics include:
Try not to abuse your power / You might not want to lose your power
She said you were a hero / You played the part but you ruined her in a year
And you swear you didn’t know / no wonder why you didn’t ask
She was sleeping in your clothes but now she’s got to get to class / How dare you
The music video for this song shows Billie being strangled by a python snake, resembling how she felt trapped and suffocated by the abuse she endured.
Track 8: Not My Responsibility
The track titled, “Not My Responsibility” is the only song of Eilish’s that is spoken word. In this heavy-emotional felt monologue, Billie expresses the hypocrisy of societal expectations. One of Billie’s trademarks in her career is the fact that she wears baggy clothes that do not let the audience see what her body could look like, and she does this because she does not want it to be about her or her body; she wants her career to be about her music, but nevertheless, people still find other things to criticize and ridicule her for.
Honorable lyrics include:
Do you know me? / Really know me
You have opinions about my opinions / about my music / about my clothes / about my body
If I wear what is comfortable, I am not a woman / If I shed the layers, I’m a slut
Is my value based only on your perception? / Or is your opinion of me
Not my responsibility
Track 9: NDA
One of the first songs Eilish released on her album was “NDA”. “NDA” tells the hush-hush side of what being a celebrity actually entails. The stalkers, the fake friends, the social climbers and just how challenging it is to make genuine connections with the people around you because you are constantly in fear of them blackmailing you or ruining your career. Eilish talks about these tough struggles through the analogy of what an NDA is (a nondisclosure agreement) which is very common in Hollywood so that people can protect themselves against defamation and career-ending scandals.
Some lyrics include:
Did you think I’d show up in a limousine? No
Had to save my money for security / have a stalker walking up and down the street
Had a pretty boy over but he couldn’t stay / on his way out
Made him sign an NDA
The song include a snippet from the popular online game “Among Us”, which is all about imposters.
Track 10: Getting Older
Opening her third and most recent album released in the summer of 2021, Billie Eilish’s, “Happier than Ever” is a romanticized story of heartbreak, trauma and moving on. In her opening song, “Getting Older”, Eilish starts the album off with a bittersweet song about aging not only chronologically, but in emotional intelligence as well as maturity. She tells her story as she navigates the world around her and the awkward time in between when you are allowed to be a kid, but have to act like an adult.
Some lyrics include:
I’m getting older / I think I’m aging well
I wish someone had told me I’d be doing this by myself
Things I once enjoyed / just keep me employed now
I promise I’ll be fine
The song has bass, keyboard, soft vocals and different tones from Eilish.