Rating – 6/10

Billie Eilish is an artist who became a sensation almost overnight. Over the course of a year she has gone from a small local artist to a household name with songs topping the charts. Her long-anticipated first LP, ‘WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?’ was released on March 29, 2019 to universal acclaim. With Eilish’s haunting voice and unusual production choices, this album proves that pop cannot be held to the same old formula.

The album begins with an intro, “!!!!!!!”, featuring Eilish in the studio taking out her retainer to begin recording. From this moment on, Eilish’s youth is placed at the forefront of the record. While this is not a negative, it makes lines such as “I’m that bad type… might seduce your dad type” from “bad guy” hard to take seriously. Regardless, most of the subject matter that Eilish sings about seems personal to her, which gives the album a relatability factor that many albums cannot capture.

The production of this album focuses on creating a unique sound with simple instrumentation. The minor keys and Eilish’s atmospheric vocals provide a strangely haunting sound, which is supported by the album’s artwork and promotional aesthetic. Songs such as “when the party’s over” and “bury a friend” lean on this almost creepy sound, while songs such as “you should see me in a crown” and “all the good girls go to hell” take this in a more upbeat direction, giving the listener something to dance to.

Several songs on ‘WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?’ use several elements to accent the strangeness and personality of the lyrics. Several songs have a male voice saying strange things such as “I haven’t done that dance since my wife died” in “my strange addiction”, and vocal modulation is used in songs including “ilomilo” to underline the meaning of the lyrics. Even the problematic “wish you were gay” features an interesting element of an audience participating in the song. The only downside to these production choices is that they seemingly have no purpose, that they are only present in the music to be different and serve no musical/thematic goal.

Another major problem with the album is the downside to Eilish’s atmospheric voice. On several slower songs such as “xanny” and “i love you”, Eilish seems to have no energy as she sings, and runs the risk of boring the listener when the song doesn’t do anything unique or interesting with its production.

‘WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?’ is an experiment from beginning to end. There are some dips in the album’s energy, at times the strangeness seems to serve no purpose, and Eilish’s immaturity in her lyrics might turn many listeners. However, this album proves that pop music formulas have become tired, and that someone can create a pop album that breaks the norm. The album provides a unique experience that should be listened to at least once.

Favorite Tracks: “bad guy”, “bury a friend”, “you should see me in a crown”

‘WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?’ is streaming everywhere now.

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