REVIEW: Billie Eilish – WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?

My personal benchmark for who qualifies as a millennial is anyone who uses Snapchat. I tried it for a week or so and didn’t get it so I decided I wasn’t a millennial. It was never an age thing; it was simply based on what still made sense to me and what didn’t.

When listening to WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? (THE ALBUM TITLE IS ALL IN CAPITALS YEAH. and the track titles are all in the small letters.) it was like the Snapchat incident all over again. The first time I was really struggling to think of very much to say about it. On the second listen I twigged – I just didn’t get it. Again I was just too old for this millennial lark. I’m not sure Billie Eilish is even a millennial, she’s probably too young.

Billie has grown up in an era of some great pop music, where the formula for global success has been repeated more than ever before. As a result she has a range of influences available to her. ‘Bad Guy’ owes more than a little to Lady Gaga yet sits uncomfortably alongside the more questionable Backstreet-Boys-do-Halloween of ‘all good girls go to hell’ like a matriarch attempting to cater for her grandchildren’s new found vegan and gluten-free diet.

‘8’ sounds like it’s sung by a five-year-old. It’s the eighth track on the album. Like was that the point? I’d given up trying to understand.

Billie’s not a fan of rejection and this inspires her most, erm, philosophical moment on ‘wish you were gay’. As a woke individual I was ready to dismiss this as queerbating (obviously not having listened to it). Rather, she’d feel much better about the whole thing if his sexual orientation was the reason for him not being into her. I’ll dismiss it for the self-involved lyrics instead.

This is what a gammon must feel like trying to get his pink head around remain voters. And before you snowflakes tweet me, HE is statistically most likely to be a man.

The first time I heard ‘bury a friend’ I was sucked in by the pop hooks and subtle beat. The second time I listened to it all I noticed was how little she actually does and how much of the track is just production and artificial noises under the sorrowful chant of ‘I wanna end me’. Style over substance or a master of the minimal?

Having said all that I quite liked ‘when the party’s over’, ‘my strange addiction’ is undeniably catchy, and ‘you should see me in a crown’ is a legitimate banger. If I still went out clubbing instead of watching BBC4 documentaries about clubbing, I could imagine cutting a rug alongside some other young people. That’s a saying that means dancing by the way, I don’t go out carrying a knife like all those youths do now, duh.

The closing tracks take a more tender and traditional turn. At this point in a 14 track album they could easily be filler but instead stand out as a welcome contrast.

Tonight I set out to put an album review to paper but have done little more than rail at 2019 society, bemoan my own mortality, and reveal myself as a future Mail Online ‘top rated’ comment writer. Whatever respective generations Billie and I belong to, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? is my new Snapchat: beguiling, yet confusing and ultimately meaningless.

While not musically seminal, this is an era-defining album. It marks a point in time from which there is no turning back. You won’t be needing those skinny jeans any more, old-timer.

Words by James Spearing.

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