The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper

Arts and Entertainment

Billie Eilish Hits Fans Hard and Soft

By Staff Writer Brittany Lu

Pop singer Billie Eilish continues to make waves in the music industry, with her rise to fame credited to her unique style of singing and airy falsettos. From her record-breaking Grammy wins for songs like “What Was I Made For” to her sold-out world tours, the spotlight rarely fades from Eilish. Her third studio album, HIT ME HARD AND SOFT, was released on May 17th and is once again a production by her brother, Finneas O’Connell (FINNEAS on spotify). In her new album, Eilish turns the focus on herself and her youth, marking this album as her most introspective work to date and going beyond catchy lyrics towards a raw exploration of melancholic maturity, sexuality, and resilience. 

Starting off the album with “SKINNY,” Eilish shares her emotions towards the perils of fame, likely referring to years of facing queerbaiting accusations and how her sexuality has become entertainment for the media. Next, the album’s lead single “LUNCH” entices listeners, channeling the infectious energy of her 2019 chart-dominating hit “Bad Guy.” This track is also a clear declaration of queer awakening on her own terms, with catchy lyrics like “I could eat that girl for lunch / Yeah, she dances on my tongue / Tastes like she might be the one.” She brings back the bass-heavy sounds of her debut, but her lyricism shows a version of herself that is older, wiser, and unshackled from her own doubts of her sexuality. 

Repetitive at times with the same melancholic sound in songs, for example when “WILDFLOWER” and “THE GREATEST” crescendo back to back, it gets tiring to listen to. The insistence on the instrumentation and background vocals in addition to Eilish’s own leads to a crowded sound, which takes away from the meaningful lyrics. However,  Eilish excels in her storytelling, exploring the complexities of relationships with a newfound depth. “THE DINER” portrays a stalker breaking into her kitchen, hoping a letter will win over her affection. To add to the unsettling lyrics, the horror-synth and echoing vocals provide an extra sense of creepiness. However, lines like “Bet I could change your life / You could be my wife,” out of context, echo the same-sex attraction explored in her other songs, making it seem like Eilish sees a part of herself in this obsessive admirer.  

Ending the album with “BLUE,” a catchy and melodic style song, Eilish references titles and lyrics from other tracks on the album. She uses synth-rock to explore the complex emotions touched on throughout the album, but still adding her trademark playfulness, closing the song with the line, “But when can I hear the next one?”

Although the album may not have listed the songs in a cohesive order, the album marks a bold evolution for Billie Eilish. The album offers a raw and honest peek at Eilish’s experiences confronting fame, sexuality, and self-discovery with newfound maturity and vulnerability. HIT ME HARD AND SOFT is a captivating journey that leaves listeners excited and wanting more. 

Overall Grade: A-

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