By: Ruby H. Warren
Star Rating: 2.5/5

2019 was a wild ride for Billie Eilish and her brother/producer and co-songwriter,
Finneas O’Connell. Riding the wave that was When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We
Go? Fans fell in love with Eilish’s darker take on pop music. Tracks like “Bad Guy'' and
“Bury a Friend” will prove to be pivotal moments in music years down the road with the
beats so impactful you could practically feel them in your soul. Whereas songs like
“listen before i go” left listeners blissfully heartbroken. That first album is what
catapulted Eilish to the top and is why fans, myself included, were eagerly on the edge
of our seats for her next release.
Happier Than Ever was recorded over the course of quarantine and Eilish says that the
sixteen songs that made the album are the only songs she and her brother wrote. She
also has stated on many occasions that unlike her earlier projects where she had to
prove herself (i.e. old white men wanted to make as much money as possible and a
young artist is always/was a financial risk), she was left to her own devices and the
writing flowed rather naturally. You can tell.
“Things I once enjoyed, now keep me employed” is a lyric to the opening song “Getting
Older”. After riding the high of praise and everyone telling you that you’re a star, this
song is the realization that your actions are solely on you-especially as you get older.
Leading into the second song (called “I Didn’t Change My Number”), and a few others
(like “Male Fantasy”), my only conclusion is that some of these songs were written as
therapeutic methods to get over heartbreak. They are fueled with equal notes of rage
and hurt, both songs just manifest the same emotions in different ways.
However, this is a sixteen-track record and when you have that much to say, there will
be obvious faults. My two biggest being a lull in song order (specifically tracks 9-12) and
the spurts of juvenile songwriting. Whereas most of the record showcases a bit of
maturity in both Eilish’s songwriting and her brother’s production style, tracks 9-12 take
little-to-no risks. If this were 2015 Billie, those tracks would have stars, but 2021 Billie
needed to bring more to the table. Regarding her lyrics, Eilish’s spoken-word cry of

feminism in “Not My Responsibility” was just a bit too avant-garde for the sake of being
so for my taste. Additionally, her scream-singing in the second half of “Happier Than
Ever” was incredibly childish in contrast to some of her more poetic songs. Both are
technically well done, but when Eilish came up to bat, I was expecting more.
In contrast, I absolutely loved the transition between “NDA” and “Therefore I Am”. Both
songs revert back to Eilish’s darker side of pop, which I love, but when a transition
between tracks is one of the best things on an album, one might conclude that the
album isn’t that good.
The standouts on this record are “Billie Bossa Nova” (track 3), “Oxytocin” (track 5), and
“Halley’s Comet” (track 8). These three songs aren’t just what I’d suggest to anyone
who hasn’t heard the record, but they also are the three songs that explain the sound of
the record in ways you couldn’t do unless you had heard every song of the album. Out
of these three, however, I would listen to them from 5, 8, and 3; it tells a better story that
way.
If this record were released by almost anyone other than Billie Eilish, I would have been
much more receptive to it. Eilish, however, can do better.
If you like this, try:
 Melodrama (2017) by Lorde
 Cry Baby (2015) by Melanie Martinez
 After Laughter (2017) by Paramore

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