Billie Eilish’s new album sets expectations for future records

Critical review of ‘Happier Than Ever’ offers different perspective of artist’s strengths, weaknesses


Riley Gillitzer

Billie Eilish

Fatimah Williamson, Staff Writer

Billie Eilish has been on the train towards exponential fame since her debut song in 2016, “Ocean Eyes,” which she released at age 14. Growing up in the industry has left her with many memories, both good and bad, and now that she’s an adult, she has once again changed her style. Her new album, “Happier Than Ever,” was released on July 30. This album showcases her new style and fresh outlook on life.

Eilish’s album touches on dark subjects like stalking, emotionally abusive relationships, and the anxiety surrounding (quite literally) being watched 24/7. It also speaks out about her coming into her own power and making decisions that now value and preserve her own comfort and safety. The mood ranges from crescendo-ing fear, to care-free, to pensive. 

While keeping her electronic and experimental roots, Eilish embraces a vintage style with this album. You can hear from her song “NDA” that she is a professional when it comes to using synth and vibrato to enhance the suspense in her music. In very short (too short for such a good song) “GOLDWING,” she uses choir-like vocals in the intro and then transitions into a clever beat with a lot of bass. However, to contrast with the heavily electronic style tracks like “my future,”and “I Didn’t Change My Number,” she uses soft or rhythmic instrumentals to create a more natural and smooth tone.

Though Billie Eilish does experiment with her sound, the album as a whole might still be able to blend into her old albums, and “Happier Than Ever” is especially reminiscent of her debut “Don’t Smile at Me.” Though she is telling a different message through her music, clinging onto the same types of sounds for most of the tracklist doesn’t allow the record to stand out as much as it’s supposed to. Of course, it sounds nice, but it just doesn’t have enough nuance to think that she’s really advanced her style or skills.

The lyricism in this album is the most remarkable aspect. Many poetic devices and beautiful sentiments are included that weren’t as present in previous albums.

Some of the most genius lines are in the song “GOLDWING”:

“Gold-winged angel

Go home, don’t tell

Anyone what you are

You’re sacred and they’re starved

And their art is getting dark

And there you are to tear apart

Tear apart, tear apart

Tear apart”

The use of rhythm, repetition, and descriptive language make the song feel like a short story or a poem in a really good book.

In short, “Happier Than Ever” has proved to be a delicate transition into a new era of sound. Eilish is definitely experimenting with new themes, new freedom, and a new era of her style. The question now stands: will Eilish embrace a more mature tone and continue evolving despite pressure to stay the same, or will she remain somewhat one-dimensional and give in to societal pressure?