Billie Eilish, the mischievous queen of Generation Z goth pop, has become older than 19 years in his second album, “Happier Than Ever”, released this Friday around the world. This is certified by the title of one of the songs and also by the general tone of the album, a long lullaby of elegant and electronic echoes.
There is little immediately in this second long-form installment of the American artist, who shuns the patterns that led to her debut, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” (2019), to become the Grammy Award for Best Album thanks to hits in which he conjugated an unexpected dark and unruly tone, as in “Bad guy”.
Although the creative association with his brother Finneas is maintained, the title (“happier than ever”, in Spanish) marks a full stop with respect to the tortuous aftertaste that could dot some parts of his previous work.
In that line, until your image has changed in this short span of time. From groundbreaking black, green, gray or blue hair and XXL sweatshirts, Eilish now appears with platinum hair, reclaiming the romantic and sensual halo of the divas of yesteryear.
If we had to look for a cape to the past that this “Happier Than Ever” se ties is to that precious and emotional ballad that he released in isolation in 2019, “Everything I wanted”, or other pieces of a similar cadence that have followed later, such as the cathartic “Lo vas a forget” with Rosalía.
The existential gravity of the world seems to rest on it (so it sings, “I have a lot more on my shoulders”) in the 16 tracks that mark the new album. In them she maintains her hypnotic capacity and a unique, personal voice, still acidic and committed only to her values and vital and musical circumstances, in the line of other artists who have known how to set the tone and not so much let herself be marked by her, such as Lorde.
Limiting the analysis solely to her capacity as a storyteller, an ironic writer appears from the album’s inaugural cut, “Getting Older”, in which he is able to summarize in a few verses how his sudden encounter with fame has been, the subject in which he most abounds in the songs, without ignoring the harassment he suffered for months from a man .
“I’m getting older, I think I’m fine / I wish someone had told me I would do this by myself / There are reasons I’m grateful for, there are many I’m grateful for / But it’s different when a stranger is always waiting at your door / Which is ironic because strangers seem to love me more than anyone else / … generally be upset, “Billie Ellish sings in the opening bars.
As for the sounds, the whisper that has made its mark from the beginning becomes stronger in a more jazzy and less pop style, closer to the swagger of the “bossa nova”, with brilliant melodies, while in the background they flourish from time to time. when light electronic notes that give the whole set a patina of delicacy and the maturity that it preaches.
Eilish has not completely lost her fang and thus it is still possible to find details that break the calm tone, little surprises like the mad dogs from “I Didn’t Change My Number”, the full cut from “Oxytocin” (lysergic and more apt for a collective and late-night consumption) or the break in the song “Happier Than Ever” from the bridge towards an empowering ending, almost a liberating rock proclamation that is among the best of the album.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.