After releasing her debut studio album on March 29, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?,” 17-year-old Billie Eilish earned her first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart. Within the first week of the album’s release, Eilish compiled 313,000 units, according to Billboard, and she raked in 170,000 traditional album sales.
The album’s success is not surprising because the record is phenomenal. Written entirely by Eilish and her brother Finneas O’Connell, this album is her most musically interesting project yet.
In the opening track we hear Eilish say “I have taken out my Invisalign and this is the album,” followed by uproarious laughter, which sets the tone for this album: fun, edgy and unexpected.
Released through Darkroom and Interscope Records, Eilish’s album has had the second biggest week of sales in 2019 for any album, and the third largest streaming week ever for an album by a woman, according to Billboard.
“When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” has been marketed at Eilish’s proper debut album, since her last release “Don’t Smile At Me,” was an EP.
The album’s sound starkly contrasts with her previous material. Her image has certainly changed since the release of her first single “Ocean Eyes,” but the new sound is refreshing and unlike anything ever heard in pop music.
The third single, “Bury a Friend,” released Jan. 30, broke barriers in the world of pop music, introducing almost a new genre altogether. This track has been referred to by critics as “Anti-Pop,” with elements similar to that of a score from a horror film. The song does not follow a typical pop song format, and was written to disturb the listener. The use of effects creates an eerie, choral-like sound, with the use of overlapping electronic harmony and octaves.
The album also showcases a much softer side of Eilish’s voice. The vocals are quiet, breathy, and rarely rise to full power. At times her voice even sounds like a whisper. Eilish has been known to sing in a hushed style, but this album strongly focuses on this vocal styling.
Stand-out songs from this album include, “When the Party’s Over”, “Bad Guy”, “You Should See Me in a Crown” and “Wish You Were Gay.” The album includes a mixture of the pop, electropop and trap genres.
The use of distortion on the vocals in tracks like “Bad Guy,” and “Xanny,” is fascinating and unique to Eilish’s signature style. It reflects Eilish’s unstable, hazy state as a teen girl caught in a very mature environment.
Much of this album’s tracks reveal her carefree and reckless side. Lyrically, the album is intriguing and entirely open for interpretation.
Over the course of Eilish’s fame journey, she has revealed more aspects of her personality through her music. Eilish is funny, yet depressed, mature, yet kiddish; sophisticated, but bratty. The songs reflect Eilish’s “sinful” nature and how she’s embraced this part of who she is, despite still just being a teenager.
She makes a very “take me or leave me, love me or hate me” kind of statement. Eilish is testing the boundaries at full force, and bringing all her demons with her.