June 27, 2019

Review: “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”

Billie Eilish performs live. (Wikimedia Commons)

Throughout the past three and a half years, one thing has remained constant regarding the music of singer-songwriter Billie Eilish: the seventeen-year-old has no quarrel with breaking the entirety of the formula for pop music. 

Hailing from Los Angeles, Eilish (along with her brother and frequent collaborator, Finneas) has been an active force in the pop scene since the release of “ocean eyes” in 2016. Since then, she has come out with numerous singles as well as dont smile at me, her debut EP. All of her releases up to early March 2019 received critical acclaim, but it is with her long-awaited debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? that she solidifies her spot as a game-changing force in the world of pop stardom.

When We All Fall Asleep reached the top of the charts all across the globe upon its release on March 29, 2019, and with good reason: it highlights the direction in which pop may very well be headed in the future. Eilish’s soft, intimate vocals are matched with a loud bass in many of the album’s tracks; this, along with minimalist instrumentation, creates a moody sound. Conversely, other songs almost entirely emit the bass and switch the focus over to layered vocals, emitting a somber aura.

In one standout song, “when the party’s over,” Eilish describes struggles with a relationship: the song highlights a large number of layered vocals and is filled with raw emotion, making it memorable.
Another exceptional track, “ilomilo,” features a bouncy accompaniment in conjunction with edited vocals and discusses a fear of being separated from a person.

Finally, “goodbye” serves as a fitting end to the album, making use of a line from each of the album’s songs in reverse order and once again showcasing Eilish’s proficiency with layered vocals.

Despite its many successes, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? is not without its faults. I have no issue with skipping tracks such as “you should see me in a crown” and “8.” Nonetheless, if this hauntingly beautiful collection of songs is any sign of what Eilish will do with her music in the future, she has a bright future ahead of her.

My Rating:8.5/10