zaterdag 31 augustus 2019

When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Billie Eilish

Comfort zones is not a state to always remain in, no matter how comfortable. So when someone introduced me to 'Bad Guy', Billie Eilish got more and more into the news and even 'Oor' spent pages on the 17 year old phenomenom, without speaking to her, it was time to put the album on.

The name Billie Eilish came by since somewhere this spring and I knew it was not for me. I've met 18 year old girls singing her songs to me, 18 year old boys talking about "how hot she is", she's even in the top 40 and there's nothing much there I particularly care for. I've become my dad where the top 40 is concerned. So why am I writing?

That reason is because the music Billie Eilish does have an effect on me. Yes, it is completely foreign to me in a way. The electronics that have replaced all what I consider music, the extreme silences are provocative, just like the electronic beats are in 'You Should See Me In The Crowd' in combination with that overbearing silence. The singer doesn't really sing, it is more of a whispered reciting. Together it seems to work though.

The emptiness surrounding Ms. Eilish reminds me of that one song by Lorde I like, 'Royals'. It is no coincidence that she cites Lorde as one of her influences. The other is The xx, which I mainly do like, as the difference around the silences are huge. Of course, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? last far too long for me. Those of you following this blog, could have guessed that easily. What I would like to share with you, is that in my opinion this is a courageous album. Billie Eilish presents herself at a world stage without trying to immediately please nor copying the greatest common denominator of the kind of songs that come by on the radio if it happens to be switched on by someone in the family. The kind of pop that is so shallow or dance oriented.

Billie Eilish takes snippets out of electronic music, a little Adele and some pop. To finish things off she sings with girl-version voice of Lana del Ray. It all together works for me for a short while, with 'Bad Guy' definitely on top. When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? to me sounds like nothing I ever heard before. And then '8' starts with a ukulele and a voice that seems to want to tell me the vocal was recorded when she was 8 years old. Something alike a "normal" song develops, where the rest is all deconstructed reality and augmented by electronics.

It is further on in the album that some surprises are presented. A completely bare pop song like 'Ilomilo' or a late night jazz club track like 'Listen Before I Go'. This album is far more diverse than anyone would guess by listening to the first five, six songs.

Summing up, even if you're not into modern music When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? is worth at least a part listen. It really is different, sometimes special and in some places I even consider it good. The attention is well deserved.


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