ALBUM REVIEW: WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?; Billie Eilish expands her portfolio with twisted blend of pop beats, dark lyrics

Billie Eilish (pictured above) released her debut album on March 29. Eilish is 17 years old and became popular for her 2015 song “Ocean Eyes.” (courtesy of creative commons)

Billie Eilish’s new album WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? has been climbing the charts since its March 29 release. Eilish has received both praise and criticism for the heavy, emotional material covered in the album. 

The album’s first single was the song “bury a friend,” which quickly became a hit. The song has an eerie feel, with lyrics like “I wanna end me” which is repeated and accented by musically-timed screams. It’s about being your own monster under the bed and how the loss of people in your life can bring that monster out. 

“bury a friend” is unique for its genre, which adds to its musical intrigue. The full album is highly original with a large variety of musical styles expressed.  

Another popular song on the album is “bad guy,” which contrasts the dark tones of other songs like “bury a friend.” The “bad guy” track has an upbeat melody with a theme of female empowerment. The song references a man thinking he’s a tough guy, but Eilish emphasizes that she may be more than he can take.

While female empowerment songs have recently been written to the point of exhaustion, this song stands out by making risky assertions. At one point, Eilish calls herself the “make your girlfriend mad type,” which might not sound positive to most, but the song has a very strong feminine energy to it. 

The album achieves a more somber tone with “listen before i go,” a ballad that slows the album’s pace. It tells the story of a lonely narrator on the verge of suicide. Eilish’s narrator keeps telling someone close to her to “leave like [they] always do,” even though she is obviously in need of help. This song brings awareness to the issue of depression that people, specifically teenagers Eilish’s age, are struggling with. 

Another, more upbeat song is “all the good girls go to hell.” The melody is fast-paced, but the lyrics go from fun to demonic throughout the song. 

Eilish shows off her songwriting with impressive lyrics that feature biblical references, saying at one point that “Peter’s on vacation, an open invitation,” implying that Saint Peter, the guard of Heaven’s gates, is away so that she can sneak in. This song emphasizes that Eilish believes her version of good people go to hell, not heaven. 

Eilish also challenges organized religion’s patriarchal views in this song, referencing God as a “she.” The song’s chorus concludes by saying that God will “want the devil on her team” once everything starts to fall apart. 

Overall, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?’s vibe goes from haunting to alternative-pop and everywhere in-between, depending on the song you’re listening to.

The album is honest about mental health struggles and serves as a beacon for people to identify with. Each piece has a different sound than other music in popular culture. This album is a work of art  even including its dark themes.