Arts & Entertainment


Critically acclaimed music prodigy Billie Eilish has released her third studio album, a genre-jumper that explores Billie’s flawed yet deeply human self.

For my last article for the Ledger crew, I thought I’d pay homage to an extremely talented artist that has been a great inspiration for my own writing. This artist has continuously been able to produce art that has won her several accolades and awards, breaking records in music history. This is Billie Eilish.  

Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell is a singer and songwriter from Los Angeles, California. Her parents, both artistic souls, raised her and her brother Finneas on music and the arts. They encouraged their children to follow their artistic endeavors, which is also why Eilish was homeschooled. 

Homeschooling allowed for the siblings to learn music theory, instrument playing and songwriting from a very early age. At age 11, Eilish wrote her first song based on the popular series “The Walking Dead.” By 13, she co-wrote and sang two more songs with her brother and posted them onto SoundCloud “just for fun.”  

After the 2015 SoundCloud single drop of “Ocean Eyes,” Eilish and Finneas gained traction and were immediately scouted as a duo. Eilish migrated to larger music streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music and has consistently created hit after hit. Her first album, “When We all Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” debuted on the US Billboard 200, and her fifth single “Bad Guy” became her first number one on the Billboard Top 100. Within the 9 years of her career, Eilish has won a total of 21 awards ranging from Grammy’s to Academy music awards.  

In total, Eilish has released one EP, “Don’t Smile at Me” and two additional albums: “Happier Than Ever” and the recently released “HIT ME HARD AND SOFT.” This third studio album dropped just in time for me to review and enjoy on May 16.  

“HIT ME HARD AND SOFT” is a ten song, 43-minute album. The album has been met with equal critique and praise towards the decision to make it shorter. Regardless of length, the album has been met with positive acclaim from music critics, and is already trending all over social media. 

The album cover for “HIT ME HARD AND SOFT.” Distributed by Interscope Records.

The album begins with “SKINNY.” An absolutely gorgeous and impactful start to the album, the song touches on mental health, heartbreak and how depression does not correlate to outward appearances. It specifically touches on Billie’s weight loss, and she admits to “Still cry[ing]” despite her growing up and “acting like [her] age now.” 

This song is effortlessly blended into a much more upbeat and playful melody, “LUNCH.” This was perhaps the most awaited single and is already the number one most played track of the album. “LUNCH” is Eilish’s queer awakening and acceptance.  

Though there has been much banter in the past regarding her sexual orientation, Eilish only felt it appropriate and comfortable enough to discuss now. This track is a Sapphic, femme-worshipping anthem that talks about having a crush on a girl for the first time.  

“CHIHIRO” is probably my favorite track of the entire album. Not only does the song start off with a sexy, soul-penetrating bass, but Billie’s wispy voice bounces around with the melody and lyrics. I also quite loved the chorus falsettos accompanied by the harpsichord. It also shifts into a synth-EDM beat around the halfway mark that left me at the edge of my seat.  

Of course, what makes the song even better is the stellar reference to Studio Ghibli’s iconic film, “Spirited Away.” Eilish wrote this song to commemorate her love for Studio Ghibli and this specific movie. The song speaks in Chihiro’s perspective and the progression of her relationship with Haku, the river spirit who saved her from drowning.  

“BLUE” is the closing track to the entire album. It’s currently the second most played track of the album, and for good reason. It starts off with Eilish’s signature moody vocals and a more pop-rock band arrangement, which is reminiscent of her older works. 

Though it is extremely catchy, the two-minute mark catches us off-guard after it transitions to a somber piano solo and Billie’s floating, breathy voice. Heavy on reverbs, the song continues to trail onto increasingly heartbreaking lyrics, until it switches once again. The beat drops, and we’re propelled into dark, misty electro-pop, and concludes with a classical string quartet. This song managed to capture every one of Billie’s key attributes across her discography, and I thought that was pretty damn cool.  

A crucial attribute that seemed to be prominent throughout this entire album is key and beat changes inside the same songs. Throughout the album, it felt like every song was split in half and would transition to another phase of the song. Though I love this concept and I think it worked well for many of the songs, I believe it didn’t allow for the listener to really appreciate the intricacies of every song. 

Maybe I’m a bit of a stickler, but once I fall in love with a specific beat and tempo, I like to bask in it for a little before it trails off to something else. There were a lot of transitions in this album that happened too quickly, and I was left simply wanting more time for each phase, even if the songs ended up being more than five minutes.  

Just because of this, I believe adding one or two additional songs would have quenched that desire for more. Despite this, it is a beautifully written and executed album. It is emotional and artistic, and showed Billie’s growth as a human being. She lays herself bare and shares her flaws through this album. It is very evident that she and Finneas had a blast recording this in the studio.  

“HIT ME HARD AND SOFT” is currently out on all music streaming platforms.  

Featured image: Billie Eilish at 2019 Pukkelpop Music Festival which take place in Kiewit, Hasselt, Belgium. Photo by Lars Crommelinck Photography via Creative Commons.