Alia Abbas

Billie Eilish released a “Don’t smile at me” two year anniversary photo album to thank fans for their persistence and endless support (Photo courtesy of Alia Abbas).

Billie Eilish is known among the popular majority as an idol, a successful 17-year-old prodigy, an award-winning artist, record-breaking streams, an original writer, and an influencer with 32.5 million followers. However, little do people know that she has been contradicting that very identity as she pursues to cultivate herself as an unconventional artist and individual. 

Labeled as an “anti-pop artist defying the laws of sound” by various celebrity media outlets, Eilish set out with a different and distinctive ideal in mind. “I don’t ever remember saying to anyone ‘Oh, I’m not gonna do the normal’. I wanted to make what I wanted to make and that was it,” said Eilish at a radio interview with 2FM. 

Her originality is evident in her heavy social media presence, which is highly relatable and crawling with content in all its corners. She has a tendency to find fault in her actions. She truthfully exposes her guilts, pains, and pleasures. She has used her large platform for a number of different reasons, from subtle issues to horrific truths of climate change and similarly controversial topics. The majority of her followers are stereotyped as being sad or the closed-off depressed teenagers who find comfort in the space she has created for herself and people alike. 

She is able to connect with the depressed majority,” said junior Joselyn Trejo. “Yeah, she is bold, makes her own choreography in a way that the vast majority of artists today don’t, and makes her own lyrics, [but] she’s “weird” and brave at the same time,” added junior Christian Malave. “The teens really like want someone to console with because of the way society judges you today” he added. 

From the endless points on how Eilish has unsheathed global attention only three years into her career, her relationship and influence with her fans and followers have been increasing as more people begin to discover her music.

“Her musical taste palette is unique and open to all genres. I find her to be a relatable chill person. She does what she likes, she’s free-willed and doesn’t care what others say behind her back. For example, [after her sexual assault in 2018], she proved that it’s important to think before you speak. It really proves there are some really “BAD GUYS” in this world.” said senior Saqina Naqvi.

She seems to have lived hundreds of lives, yet she’s only 17. She is identified as a living and breathing example of exactly how the teenage mind works. For instance, there have been multiple encounters where she has spoken of her severe clinical depression and constant anxiety. Eilish leaves every interview and conversation open-ended for the viewers to grasp and understand the reality we try to escape that is fabricated into today’s countless forms of entertainment. The influence she serves is intense, emotionally intelligent, and “combines the more established themes of unrequited love and breakups with far darker [unacknowledged matters] ones like death, depression, and anxiety.

Eilish’s promotions for a newly released music video for her single “All Good Girls Go To Hell” includes her avid advocacy for climate change (Photo courtesy of Alia Abbas).

“ I’ve been there. To be on the other side of that is unbelievable… [my fans will] say things like, “You changed my life.” and then they’ll explain why… it made me beam of joy. I know what it’s like to feel like that… I still am [like that]!” said Billie during her collaborative interview with fashion giant, VICE. 

Her prominent collaborator, Apple Music, has stated frequently that she is characterized as “lifting, yet sinister,’. In fact, she has a tendency to dwell with dynamic range and darker realities. She’s proven the path less taken is what leads straight to success. This idea can be seen in her song “Watch” which is featured in the “don’t smile at me” EP. Interestingly enough, Watch never hit the charts, and today some view it as one of the most underrated songs of her career. Only hitting around 100 million streams on Spotify compared to the billions of people listening to her newest releases. “Watch” ultimately described as a reanimated version of the classic repetitive and shallow world of love songs. She flips the script, ruminating anguish of unrequited love. Many people, including herself at first, dealt with the lyricism as a principle of being in a relationship. The thought of how prime one’s personal relationship with themselves is then a relationship with anyone else is did not cross her mind until later on. 

“Anything that has to do with anyone else has to do with you first. Anything that somebody else makes you feel is you making yourself feel that way—but they’re triggering it. Everything comes from you,” added Eilish in her interview with VICE. 

“Watch” holds an unexpected and twisted conclusion, which she draws in the end with, “I’ll sit and watch your car burn/with the fire that you started in me”. The intensity of urgency is poised with the soft thumping bass line and mix of unique and lush electronics, which is heightened as the song progresses as Billie steadily realizes an unexpected desire. From the raw and brutally honest, “if we were meant to be, we would have been by now” to the quick change of mind “your lies will never keep, I think you need to blow them out”. She is exceptional at contributing those ideas in her music videos. 

“I knew I wanted a black room with four orange Dodge Challengers—that’s my dream car, and especially orange, which is such a good color, god—and a bunch of girls on top of them. I think in so many music videos, there are girls on top of cars but [they’re] like, naked—like strippers on top of cars. And I wanted to take that and change it… I wanted [the girls] to be like, thoughts—the inner [versions of] me, my thought process. They were all dressed like me, which was kind of the idea—in sporty, huge, huge boys-wear,” said Eilish. 

The paced lyrics state facts and force the inner embodiment of Eilish to expose herself in the acceptance of how her relationship poignantly went out of love. The songs inspirationally honest yet simply expressed versification of how the worst relationship one could ever be in alludes that it would be the one with yourself.