Billie Eilish has the power to scare you shitless. She’s a 17 year old dichotomy, an essence of terror with a fairy–like voice that’s softer than a breeze. Her new single “bury a friend” features her horrifying aspects as she steps into the realm of nightmares and the subconscious.
Eilish did in fact bury a friend this past year: American rapper XXXtentacion, who was shot and killed during a so-called robbery in June of 2018. In an interview with Montreality, Billie speaks on XXX: “Jah was someone that stuck with me and got me through something that I felt like I would not have gotten through if it weren’t for him.” This interview (along with text messages Eilish posted on Instagram between her and Tentacion) launched surges of hate against Eilish, as fans wondered why her backbone came from a rapper imprisoned for aggravated battery of his pregnant girlfriend, amongst other charges.
“bury a friend” immediately captivates with the feature of Eilish’s friend Crooks, whose sonorous voice calls out, “Billie.” However, the rest of the single is slightly disappointing, especially for longtime Eilish fans. The most egregious letdown is her overuse of the preoccupation: “All artists are so sad, sadness is what creates great art.” Although truthful in some ways, Eilish hits this trope home time and time again without digging deeper into a possibly more profound space. She makes it clear in every interview that she hates herself, a notion that is present in her song “Idontwannabeyouanymore” and now in “bury a friend” with the lyrics, “Like I wanna drown, like I wanna end me” and “Honestly I thought that I would be dead by now.”
The second letdown is her seeming embrace of making an abnormal creation because it’s cool, as opposed to creating something with the beauty of sound as a priority. Abnormality is dope, but I’d like to see the song stand for itself by musical standards. The track is choppy, cutting from different melodies quite quickly — these melodies bump, but they’re fleeting.
Her debut album WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? comes out Mar. 29th. The expectations and fame she’s acquired could cause anyone to cave, but I have no doubt Eilish will harnesses her struggles and turn them into a crazy and creative experience. That is, after all, what made her so great in the first place.