Album Review: don’t smile at me – Billie Eilish

If you wanted to add another vocalist to the list of art pop sensations, 15-year old prodigy Billie Eilish is on track to claim her spot in the music world. Recently signed to Interscope, the young artist initially went viral after uploading “Ocean Eyes” on her SoundCloud page in 2016. Billie’s lush voice and jaw-dropping production may very well be a reason for gaining traction across all music platforms. Comparative to the likes of Lana Del ReyBanks, and Melanie Martinez, Billie’s versatility in her soundscape and musicality is found in each successive track on don’t smile at me. Her vocal range and adaptability to production is polished and deems her as a veteran to the game at an early age. Based on a recent interview for Beats Radio 1, Billie states that she is unapologetically herself and wants to create music that shares her ideas into the world. Although being famous in the music sphere comes with the territory, she does not want to focus on popularity and considers it as a perk in her career. Nevertheless, her ambition and raw talent may force listeners to do a double-take and follow her into her musical journey.

Recently, Billie revealed her multifaceted expertise in a dance performance video for “Ocean Eyes.” She was staunch in facilitating an aesthetically pleasing performance that captured the ambiance of the song.  Based on the video alone, Billie seems to be well-versed in contemporary dance as she breathes new life into her breakthrough hit. The track itself makes a case to be a standout based on Billie’s unwavering tone laced throughout the song. Finneas O’Connell‘s production lends itself to focus on the vocalist’s innocent portrayal of a person in love. Billie’s high-pitched notes in the chorus allows her silky voice to cut through instrumentation. Coupled with her creative songwriting ability, the budding young artist is ahead of the curve and can only get better over time.

Similar to the ironic nature of “Pumped Up Kids” by Foster the People, “Bellyache” is another exemplary effort by Billie that contains a darker theme masked by upbeat production. Although the song’s lyrics tells a harrowing tale, the deep house vibes in the chorus adds a drop of irony for the listener. As the song wavers on, Billie begrudgingly admits that the outcome of her plans were not as great as she thought. The acoustic guitar and percussive instruments interwoven in the verses provides the perfect landing spot for Billie’s abrasiveness and confidence in her delivery. Once the song reaches the chorus, bursts of infectious energy are brought to life with bouncy synths. The producer was keen on making it difficult for the listener to refrain from nodding to the beat. Although the track has unsettling lyrics, listeners should still take a quick look at Billie’s approach in masterful songwriting.

As for the rest of her project,  it is hard to choose which track exemplifies Billie’s raw talent. “Copycat” utilizes hip hop elements such as a hard-hitting beat and attention-grabbing synths. Billie’s vocals are reminiscent to the nursery rhyme cadence made popular by Melanie Martinez. “My Boy” is another personal standout that introduces listeners to a fusion between jazz pop and 90s pop—a unique blend of genres that showcases her versatility in cohesive fashion. However, the last track may very well be a standalone rendition compared to the rest of the album. “Hostage” incorporates folk-influences in an acoustic ballad that shows her vulnerability. The background vocals complements Billie’s voice to create a nuanced duet that befits her struggle in being close to a love interest.

As an artist, Billie Eilish has accomplished many feats in the music industry already—a shocking revelation at such a young age. don’t look at me is the perfect example for aspiring artists to utilize as a blueprint for their own careers. Be sure to check to Billie on tour this fall and listen to her debut project on Soundcloud below:




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