Artist Spotlight: Billie Eilish

“Lips meet teeth and tongue, my heart skips eight beats at once.” In “watch,” Billie Eilish mimics the feelings of  her audience, listening to her EP.

Eilish, a 17-year-old alternative artist, released her debut EP, don’t smile at me, in late 2017. Since, she has had numerous singles and collaborations with other artists. Success has found Eilish and it is well-deserved. Sleek vocals and a soft beat are some of the few similar notes between tracks. Her voice is accentuated throughout, using her strengths and emotional appeal to jump from happy and sad melodies to meaningful lyrical compositions.

“COPYCAT” from her don’t smile at me EP, kicks off with a dark sounding melody and Eilish singing almost monotone vocals. This track displays the strongest beat on the album and the most unique sound. She seems almost deceitful singing in a lower pitch than in her other songs. “Copycat trying to cop my manner, watch your back when you can’t watch mine.” Eilish sings about someone copying her every move and she hates that people try to be her instead of themselves. Dark and almost scary, sending a clear message. Watch out for her.

Taking a turn, “ocean eyes,”  also from don’t smile at me, is a light love song, mildly well-known, since it is played on the radio. Soft piano accompanied by Eilish’s calming voice, this song captures a different view on love. The fear of falling too hard. Written and originally performed by her brother, who gave this song to his sister as he felt her voice added the final touch to the track his band had previously performed. Describing her significant other’s eyes as “burning” and “napalm.” She uses the ocean as a metaphor for her admiration. “I’m scared, never fallen from quite this high, falling into your ocean eyes.” Dropping into the ocean, a vast and unpredictable expanse of water, would be terrifying. Using this image to draw a parallel to her fear of falling in love, later saying that it’s not fair that her lovers eyes have a way of getting whatever they want from her.

“Thought I found a way, Thought I found a way out, But you never go away, So I guess I gotta stay now.” One of her popular collaborations with Khalid, “lovely” is truly a musical gem. This single begins with a soft piano and string solos, Eilish’s voice harmonizes with Khalid beautifully to begin this song. The beat falls out and Eilish’s voice is left alone sounding perfect and high toned. While it is a short song being only just over three minutes long, it has alluring chords, vocals and meanings. Both Billie Eilish and Khalid believe that they’ve found a way out of their depression, but quickly learn that it hasn’t gone away. Rather than continue to fight these feelings, the pair give in and accept that their depression will always be a piece of them.

From her latest mostly unreleased album, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO, Billie has said in interviews that she made every song on this album sound different. “when the party’s over” brings similar sound from the first EP. Billies soft voice seems to echo using her falsetto. “Don’t you know too much already, I’ll only hurt you if you let me.” Eilish sings of feelings for someone who calls her a friend but leads her on. Her pain is obvious and she’s short tempered.

She lets out a sound unheard as of yet to the music industry. Wispy and high toned, her voice flows through the speakers creating an angelic resonance. From “party favor” being a supposed recorded phone call to “idontwannabeyouanymore” being a conversation with herself in the mirror, Eilish uses these quirks to add a new spin to the alternative genre.

Eilish sets a different tone when her songs play. From hard hitting emotional ballads to borderline angry melodies about cars being on fire, she uses many metaphors and hidden messages that, once known, change the meaning of each track. Her music shows a range of talent and hopefully this is just a peek at what she can do in the future. She has now released singles for her newest album and anticipation for the full release is showing.