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Compelling and thoughtful second album from multi-award-winning singer Billie Eilish
The Brit, Grammy and multi-award-winning singer Billie Eilish has released her new album ‘Happier Than Ever’, almost two years after her debut album ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ reached Number One in eighteen countries. Recorded at her home in California, this second album, co-written with brother Finneas, who is also credited as the sole producer, charts her rapid ascent to stardom and the issues this has brought with it. It is an intimate, melodious collection of songs spanning different genres, marked by Eilish’s unflinching honesty and low-key tone, and was a landmark achievement for her. She says, “I wish I could go back and make this album all over again because it was some of the best nights of my life”, referring to it on her Instagram account as being “the most satisfying and profound experience.”
The sixteen-track collection with its minimalist, acoustic instrumentation and thoughtful lyrics, opens with the languid opener ‘Getting Older’, reflecting a disenchantment with fame: “Things I once enjoyed/Just keep me employed now,” but ending on an optimistic, self-empowering note: “I’m happier than ever, at least that’s my endeavour/To keep myself together and prioritize my pleasure.” The songs cross different styles – the samba groove of ‘Billie Bossa Nova’, the jazz-tinged funk-pop, torch song ‘My Future’; the beat-propelled, witty, ‘Oxycontin’ with its detached vocals; the choral, uplifting ‘Goldwing’; and the ballad 'Your Power’.
Themes covered include: the impact of isolation and stress of fame in ‘Getting Older’ with “deranged” strangers appearing at her door; ‘NDA’ about the terror of having stalkers and paparazzi after you; existentialism in ‘Everybody Dies’ and ‘Therefore I Am'; romantic yearning in the ballad ‘Halley’s Comet’; the negative side-effects of social media in ‘Overheated’ and self-discovery in ‘My Future’.
Highlights include: ‘Your Power’, the first single from the album, a song about being exploited and abused by an older man she trusted; the catchy, breezy ‘Lost Cause’, a ‘so long’ to a love given up on; the title track with its punk rock climax; the stripped-down acerbic monologue ‘Not My Responsibility’, addressing criticism of her body and sexuality: “If I wear what is comfortable, I am not a woman/If I shed the layers, I’m a slut/Though you have never seen my body, you judge it and judge me for it/Why?.... The body I was born with/Is it not what you wanted?”; and the acoustic-led, contemplative ‘Male Fantasy’, reflecting on the deceit of pornography and the hurt of not being able to re-connect with someone close, which completes this compelling collection.
In September Eilish will be performing ‘Happier Than Ever’ in full from the stage at the Hollywood Bowl. ‘Happier Than Ever’ with its refreshing emotional candour and confident switching between styles will have gained her even wider recognition.
I Didn't Change My Number
Billie Bossa Nova
Not My Responsibility
Therefore I Am
Happier Than Ever
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