Under 18 but still killing the music game, singer and songwriter Billie Eilish released her first debut studio album on March 29. Her album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? follows her 2017 EP, Don’t Smile at Me. Don’t Smile at Me proved to be an electropop smash, and what some critics describe as a total ‘sleeper hit’.
My favorite song from Eilish’s new album, “bad guy,” is a serious dark and moody pop experience. The song is what you might imagine a song called “bad guy” to be about. Billie’s voice, one I have not heard in mainstream music in a long time, is downbeat in this single, despite it probably being the most pop-like song off the album.
When I reflect on what I was like during my teen years, I think Eilish is everything I wanted to be. A pop goddess, fashion icon, unapologetically herself, and all around baddie. Unfortunately, my teen years were lost on watching a lot of One Direction music videos (even well past their split) and babysitting.
Prepare yourself, because we are about analyze the lyrics. “So you’re a tough guy/Like it really rough guy/Just can’t get enough guy/Chest always so puffed guy/I’m that bad type/Make your mama sad type/Make your girlfriend mad tight/Might seduce your dad type/I’m the bad guy, duh.” Okay, what business does Billie Eilish have at 17 to possess such confidence?
These lyrics come from the chorus, taunting what it seems to be a very specific man or type of man. While there is nothing profound about these lyrics, her willingness to tease men and create music for people with similar experiences as her is a large reason why many are fast to critique Eilish. Truthfully, “bad guy” is the only song I like from Eilish’s new album. Despite this, I do not think she is a bad artist just because her music is not always catered to me, though it is clearly a problem for the 30 year old dudes on Twitter who are angry about not liking her music and calling it bad. For men to believe that music, or any form of entertainment, must fit their taste is just an extension of our patriarchal society! I’ll say it! The best part about Eilish’s music is that it does not have to be for everybody!
Aside from my general fondness of the song, the music video is even better. In the video, Eilish clumsily kicks her way through a yellow wall of paper, sporting yellow boots, yellow cargo pants, and a yellow sweatshirt. After gaining her balance, she reaches into her mouth to pull out her Invisalign, dropping it into the hand of a body guard that stands stoically in the background. Throughout the video, Eilish dances wildly, leading a gang of attractive men behind. They’re all on tricycles, and at one point, she steps on a man’s chest while pouring milk into his mouth. The visuals are so unorthodox that you are unable to look away. Billie’s eyes often stare deeply into the camera, a pessimistic look on her face while she sings. The video proves itself to be stormy, shocking and bold. Eilish’s fans would expect nothing less from the eccentric artist.
I do think you should listen to the album in its entirety to decide if you like it for yourself, but I highly recommend watching the “bad guy” music video to experience the song for the first time – I promise it will heighten your experience.