I understand Billie Eilish is a cultural icon, as she rose to stardom due to her catchy songs and, as the kids call it today, “edgy vibe.” This column is strictly an analysis of her work, and should not be interpreted as a personal attack.
However, when one analyzes her songs from a lyrical standpoint, she is not as talented as you’ve been told to believe she is. She is a systematic product of the cesspool we call “pop culture” today. Eilish consistently mixes indolent lyrics with club-dancing beats; her music is not designed to make you think, simply to nod your head and forgo intelligence.
I would define “good music” as music that either tells a story or cleverly weaves through a tune with creative syntax, forcing people to go back and relisten. Some music is not intended to do so; some music is specifically intended for dancing, and I enjoy those songs as well. However, you cannot reasonably say Eilish produces good music. Music that intentionally seeks to numb the minds of the audience instead of using intelligent language to captivate listeners, isn’t “good music” at all.
For starters, her lyrics are not sincere, impactful or clever. In her hit song, “Bad Guy,” she begins singing, “White shirt now red, my bloody nose / Sleeping, you’re on your tippy toes.” While I can appreciate simplicity, this neither tells me a story nor grabs my interest. The only reason I continued to listen to this song was that I couldn’t hear what she actually said (not sang, said)– I had to look up the lyrics, which only led to further personal disappointment.
Like Adele in 2012 and Sam Smith in 2015, Eilish promoted the new James Bond movie with an introduction song. “No Time to Die ” was released a day before Valentine’s Day, and much like her other songs, it featured lazy songwriting. One of the most “powerful” lines in the song read as, “But I saw you there / Too much to bear / You were my life, but life is far away from fair / Was I stupid to love you?” Frankly, this is some of her best work, and it still feels like a snippet from one of One Direction’s biggest flops.
Creative expression is certainly not without fault nor the occasional mistake, but lazy songwriting tracked over a catchy beat shouldn’t constitute as “good music.” Twitter trolls and Instagram addicts will attempt to convince you of how fantastic her music is, but defending an “artist” who whispers through meaningless lyrics only reiterates how much of a swamp that pop culture has become.