Billie Eilish

2024-06-04

StʌrunneR

dont smile at me 2017

GENRE: ALTERNATIVE

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The irresistible hooks and haunting vocals of bedroom production “Ocean Eyes” made Los Angeles teen Billie Eilish an internet sensation. This debut EP nudges things along nicely with its minimalist beats and lifting-yet-sinister lyricism. A rerecorded “Ocean Eyes” remains unnervingly assured, while the infectious pop of “Bellyache” holds a surrealist, macabre edge. Her voice—melancholy, theatrical, and soaring—impresses throughout and bears comparison to Lorde and Lana Del Rey. It’s hard to believe this all comes from a 15-year-old.

WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? 2019

GENRE: ALTERNATIVE

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Billie Eilish 于 2016 年推出另类流行歌曲《ocean eyes》,展现了她作为 Z 世代流行歌手的独特姿态:一位个性内向的叛逆女孩,喜欢弛放旋律、阴郁节奏、诡异影像以及幽默直率的情感表达。她在 17 岁时,推出了与哥哥 FINNEAS 共同创作的首张专辑,以暗黑忧郁的旋律为我们揭开了意识深层那些神秘晦暗的角落。

Billie 饱受夜惊症和睡眠麻痹困扰,又对此着迷不已。她与自己的潜意识有着复杂的关系。“我是床下的怪兽,我是我自己的敌人。”她告诉 Apple Music,“倒不是说整张专辑是一场噩梦,只是它很……超现实。”青春期焦虑和实验风格在专辑中产生了讨喜的奇异反应,很快就让 Billie Eilish 成了这个无常新时代的绝佳代言人。

100 Best Albums Beginning with the haunting alt-pop smash “Ocean Eyes” in 2016, Billie Eilish made it clear she was a new kind of pop star—an overtly awkward introvert who favors chilling melodies, moody beats, creepy videos, and a teasing crudeness à la Tyler, The Creator. Now 17, the Los Angeles native—who was homeschooled along with her brother and co-writer, Finneas O’Connell—presents her much-anticipated debut album, a melancholy investigation of all the dark and mysterious spaces that linger in the back of our minds. Sinister dance beats unfold into chattering dialogue from The Office on “my strange addiction,” and whispering vocals are laid over deliberately blown-out bass on “xanny.” “There are a lot of firsts,” says FINNEAS. “Not firsts like ‘Here’s the first song we made with this kind of beat,’ but firsts like Billie saying, ‘I feel in love for the first time.’ You have a million chances to make an album you’re proud of, but to write the song about falling in love for the first time? You only get one shot at that.”

Billie, who is both beleaguered and fascinated by night terrors and sleep paralysis, has a complicated relationship with her subconscious. “I’m the monster under the bed, I’m my own worst enemy,” she told Beats 1 host Zane Lowe during an interview in Paris. “It’s not that the whole album is a bad dream, it’s just… surreal.” With an endearingly off-kilter mix of teen angst and experimentalism, Billie Eilish is really the perfect star for 2019—and here is where her and FINNEAS’ heads are at as they prepare for the next phase of her plan for pop domination. “This is my child,” she says, “and you get to hold it while it throws up on you.”

Figuring out her dreams:
Billie: “Every song on the album is something that happens when you’re asleep—sleep paralysis, night terrors, nightmares, lucid dreams. All things that don’t have an explanation. Absolutely nobody knows. I’ve always had really bad night terrors and sleep paralysis, and all my dreams are lucid, so I can control them—I know that I’m dreaming when I’m dreaming. Sometimes the thing from my dream happens the next day and it’s so weird. The album isn’t me saying, ‘I dreamed that’—it’s the feeling.”

Getting out of her own head:
Billie: “There’s a lot of lying on purpose. And it’s not like how rappers lie in their music because they think it sounds dope. It’s more like making a character out of yourself. I wrote the song ‘8’ from the perspective of somebody who I hurt. When people hear that song, they’re like, ‘Oh, poor baby Billie, she’s so hurt.’ But really I was just a dickhead for a minute and the only way I could deal with it was to stop and put myself in that person’s place.”

Being a teen nihilist role model:
Billie: “I love meeting these kids, they just don’t give a fuck. And they say they don’t give a fuck because of me, which is a feeling I can’t even describe. But it’s not like they don’t give a fuck about people or love or taking care of yourself. It’s that you don’t have to fit into anything, because we all die, eventually. No one’s going to remember you one day—it could be hundreds of years or it could be one year, it doesn’t matter—but anything you do, and anything anyone does to you, won’t matter one day. So it’s like, why the fuck try to be something you’re not?”

Embracing sadness:
Billie: “Depression has sort of controlled everything in my life. My whole life I’ve always been a melancholy person. That’s my default.”

FINNEAS: “There are moments of profound joy, and Billie and I share a lot of them, but when our motor’s off, it’s like we’re rolling downhill. But I’m so proud that we haven’t shied away from songs about self-loathing, insecurity, and frustration. Because we feel that way, for sure. When you’ve supplied empathy for people, I think you’ve achieved something in music.”

Staying present:
Billie: “I have to just sit back and actually look at what’s going on. Our show in Stockholm was one of the most peak life experiences we’ve had. I stood onstage and just looked at the crowd—they were just screaming and they didn’t stop—and told them, ‘I used to sit in my living room and cry because I wanted to do this.’ I never thought in a thousand years this shit would happen. We’ve really been choking up at every show.”

FINNEAS: “Every show feels like the final show. They feel like a farewell tour. And in a weird way it kind of is, because, although it’s the birth of the album, it’s the end of the episode.”

Happier Than Ever 2021

GENRE: ALTERNATIVE

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Z 世代艺术家们向来对标签嗤之以鼻,在他们的世界里,性别是流动的,风格可以被抛弃,他们正在翻越壁垒,朝着后流派音乐世界前行。

2021 年夏天,Billie Eilish 以一头金发、一袭成熟性感装束亮相时尚杂志引发了轩然大波,加上单曲《Lost Cause》的 MV 中改走轻盈居家风,让大众不禁发问:这位“怪奇”少女不再想玩儿另类了吗?再听这张新专辑,独立女声的歌唱性更多包裹了另类电子音效,致敬经典、传统的爵士与 Bossa Nova 陪伴民谣、唱咏,平衡着昔日叛逆的黑色与幻想梦呓。就像封面上的金色造型一样,这位年轻的偶像巨星在自己的新专辑中宣布了改变,给了成长一个新答案。

2019 年的“封神”专辑《WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?》中,Billie 肆意涂抹着关于死亡、暴力、黑暗与恐惧的另类异色,梦呓般的歌声在极简电子节拍中掠过,在年轻世代看似光鲜亮丽的青春里,翻起了一道道灰色海浪。当浪潮退去,瞬息万变的网络将她的艺术灵魂一口吞下后,那些挑战世俗的一举一动,去流派、去标签的创造,也都无可避免地“被标签化”,成为置于消费殿堂内的景观。一夕成名之后,各种窥探、误解和压力也接踵而至。所以《Happier Than Ever》势必是再次上演的“反叛”——过去有多么虚无离奇,如今就把多么真实的心境和盘托出。仿佛在经过大量的媒体与社交网络曝光之后,仍然有一个世人未曾见过的 Billie Eilish,在这张专辑里等着被彻底了解。

“我觉得我之前创作的一切都有点像在和自己交战,尽管我很喜欢它们。”在谈到《Happier Than Ever》的制作过程时,Billie 告诉 Apple Music,“这次感觉真的很棒。一切都很自然,没有压力,也不觉得可怕。”这位 19 岁的唱作歌手依然与哥哥 FINNEAS 共同完成了制作,很大程度上,这张专辑的灵感来自传奇歌手 Julie London 和她在上世纪中叶迷离而感性的流行、爵士作品。和前作相比,《Happier Than Ever》更显柔和轻盈,Billie 对演唱的掌控是其中的一大亮点:在多首电子或民谣作品中,她的歌声就像在演奏不同的乐器,恰切释放着情绪中的壮阔与幽微。而她的“歌手自我修养”——变得更不 Billie,也可以从单曲《Male Fantasy》清晰地听出。

这张专辑在编曲上的新感觉也能被耳朵抓到:《Billie Bossa Nova》是一首打上“Billie+FINNEAS”印记的 Bossa Nova——FINNEAS 用他的 beat 重新诠释了这一经典风格,让这首歌听起来既复古又现代。专辑同名曲《Happier Than Ever》又在金色的柔光中暗藏着一枚摇滚炸弹:怀旧人声爵士般的迷醉与民谣琴弦轻扫下的沉静,在不动声色间突然递进至独立摇滚的噪音墙,底鼓与吉他一起轰出 Fuzz 的锐利,割裂空气中的安静和诉说的平静,低吟爆发成合唱与歇斯底里,仿佛要把“你毁了一切美好”(you ruined everything good)带来的难过如数奉还。这首用到乐队化编曲的作品让人感到意外,和这位卧室音乐人之前的歌,以及新专辑中的其他单曲对比都算是一个异类,也因此让专辑的主题曲爆发出不一样的能量。

《Happier Than Ever》让人捕捉到了一种真正的平和与自由感,即使其中仍然写满这位在黑暗中嬉戏的少女的敏感:在流动、乖张的音符下,她让瞩目生活暗面的种种斗争、猜疑与冷暴力成为了主角。听来充满倾诉感的《Getting Older》被放在开场,让“Happier Than Ever”这一主题从一开始就露出了真正的“不快乐”意味,《Not My Responsibility》为大众眼中的自我辩护,谈论性向的《Oxytocin》中响起了 Fuzz 噪音与扭曲电子重拍的激进。而之前陆续发布过的单曲也首首贴题:《NDA》写下 Billie 被卷入名誉、隐私及人际关系的一场斗争,以 Alt-pop 为基础,在极简的 Trance 旋律、合成器浪涌与密集低音下,推动着少许 Auto-tune 后的低吟与呼喊。动人的《Your Power》像是《i love you》的延伸,一样伤感却没有深沉的痛。这首 lo-fi 民谣拨动的是 Billie 感情经历后的心弦,为相处关系中的人们带来启发,同样是一封致权力滥用者的公开信。由爵士乐启发的 Trip Hop 曲目《Lost Cause》唱到“我知道你将自己视作一个十足的亡命徒”(I know you think you’re such an outlaw),向她曾经的热单《bad guy》发起回应。同样,专辑的主打曲《my future》也是一首爵士与灵魂乐浮想中的当代 R&B,丢弃了所有的焦虑与压力,在面向希望的自省中,Billie 唱出了爱自己的颂歌。

ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, much of the production and arrangements here feel open and airy by comparison, inspired in large part by the placid mid-century pop and jazz of torch singer Julie London. And whether she’s sharing new perspective on age (“Getting Older”), sensuality (“Oxytocin”), or the absurdity of fame (“NDA”), there’s a sense of genuine freedom—if not peace—in Eilish’s singing, her voice able to change shape and size as she sees fit, an instrument under her control and no one else’s. “I started to feel like a parody of myself, which is super weird,” she says. “I just tried to listen to myself and figure out what I actually liked versus what I thought I would have liked in the past. I had to really evaluate myself and be like, ‘What the hell do I want with myself right now?’”

It’s a sign of growth, most striking in the clear skies of “my future” and the emotional clarity of the album’s towering title cut, which starts as a gentle ballad and blossoms, quite naturally and unexpectedly, into a growing wave of distorted guitars and distant screams. Both sound like breakthroughs. “There was no thought of, ‘What’s this going to be? What track is this?’” she says of the writing process. “We just started writing and we kept writing. Over time, it just literally created itself. It just happened. It was easy.”

HIT ME HARD AND SOFT 2024

GENRE: ALTERNATIVE

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我们对 Billie Eilish 擅长颠覆期待的创作方式心中有数,但《HIT ME HARD AND SOFT》依然提供了新鲜的惊讶。即使对 Billie 来说这也是一张格外丰富的专辑,从头至尾充满戏剧性,抛出了一位站在世界之巅并对此心知肚明的艺人的勇气。在紧凑的 45 分钟里,Billie 为歌迷送上了热情、迷幻的遐想和对酷儿文化的态度,而一些更为柔软的情绪蔓延在伤感的分手情歌和对爵士乐的情有独钟。专辑丰富却没有让人觉得凌乱无章,这要归功于 Billie 的特质:冷冽歌声、会心的歌词和让柔情涌现得排山倒海的独特。

《HIT ME》是 Billie 的第三张专辑。和前两张一样,也是和哥哥兼长期创作搭档 FINNEAS 共同录制的。在构思专辑概念时,这个屡获大奖的创作二人组想创作的新专辑,是让歌迷感觉如同掉进了一个平行宇宙。事实证明,这个宇宙和她创造历史的首张专辑——2019 年的《WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?》——有着颇多共通之处。相对于 2021 年用爵士渲染过的《Happier Than Ever》(Billie 说这张专辑是她在“困惑、抑郁的疫情迷雾”中录制的),她的第一和第三张专辑倒更像是姊妹篇。在《Happier Than Ever》之后的三年里,她一直努力回归自我:外出和朋友一起玩,更加开放地谈论性与身份,做各种让她感觉真实的事,或者说,感觉“正常”的事。今天的 Billie 还守护着内心的坦诚与脆弱,但 22 岁的她已揽获多座大奖,这些心事也不如从前那般沉重。如今让她难以入眠的不再是内心的不安全感,而更多聚集在悲伤与心痛,她的歌也因此呈现得丰满和生动。

低频强劲的《LUNCH》不可避免地成了专辑的焦点,这首歌描述对某位女性的深深迷恋,并把两人的交往比作午餐;在《THE DINER》和《CHIHIRO》中,Billie 回到了创意共振点,找回了她赖以成名的幽寂、黑暗、哥特质感,并让它们继续新鲜和强烈。与此同时,她以这种核心音景为跳板,走出了让人惊喜的方向——《L’AMOUR DE MA VIE》从爵士抒情走向 Trance 狂欢,《BITTERSUITE》在 Bossa Nova 的前调外包裹合成器的澎湃浪涌。这一切,都是她这次回归到聚光灯下的宣言。

Billie Eilish has always delighted in subverting expectations, but HIT ME HARD AND SOFT still, somehow, lands like a meteor. “This is the most ‘me’ thing I’ve ever made,” she tells Apple Music’s Zane Lowe. “And purely me—not a character.” An especially wide-ranging and transportive project, even for her, it’s brimming with the guts and theatricality of an artist who has the world at her feet—and knows it. In a tight 45 minutes, Eilish does as she promises and hits listeners with a mix of scorching send-ups, trance excursions, and a stomping tribute to queer pleasure, alongside more soft-edged cuts like teary breakup ballads and jaunts into lounge-y jazz. But the project never feels zigzaggy thanks to, well, the Billie Eilish of it all: her glassy vocals, her knowing lyrics, her unique ability to make softness sound so huge.

HIT ME is Eilish’s third album and, like the two previous ones, was recorded with her brother and longtime creative partner FINNEAS. In conceptualizing it, the award-winning songwriting duo were intent on creating the sort of album that makes listeners feel like they’ve been dropped into an alternate universe. As it happens, this universe has several of the same hallmarks as the one she famously drew up on her history-making debut, 2019’s WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?. In many ways, this project feels more like that album’s sequel than 2021’s jazzy Happier Than Ever, which Eilish has said was recorded during a confusing, depressive pandemic haze. In the three years since, she has tried to return to herself—to go outside, hang out with friends, and talk more openly about sex and identity, all things that make her feel authentic and, for lack of a better word, normal.

“As much as Happier Than Ever was coming from this place of, like, ‘We’re so good. This sounds so good,’ it was also not knowing at all who I was,’” she tells Apple Music. FINNEAS agrees, calling it their “identity crisis album.” But HIT ME HARD AND SOFT is, she says, the reverse. “The whole time we were making it, we were like, ‘I don’t know if I’m making anything good, this might be terrible…’ But now I’m like, ‘Yeah, but I’m comfortable in who I am now.’ I feel like I know who I am now.”

As a songwriter, Eilish is still in touch with her vulnerabilities, but at 22, with a garage full of Grammys and Oscars, they aren’t as heavy. These days it’s heartache, not her own insecurities, that keeps her up at night, and the songs are juicier for it. “LUNCH,” a racy, bass-heavy banger that can’t help but hog the spotlight, finds Eilish crushing so hard on a woman that she compares the hook-up to a meal. “I’ve said it all before, but I’ll say it again/I’m interested in more than just being your friend,” she sings. The lyrics are so much more than lewd flirtations. They’re also a way of stepping back into the spotlight—older, wiser, more fully herself. Read below as Eilish and FINNEAS share the inside story behind a few standout songs.

“LUNCH”
BILLIE: “One of the verses was written after a conversation I had with a friend and they were telling me about this complete animal magnetism they were feeling. And I was like, ‘Ooh, I’m going to pretend to be them for a second and just write…and I’m gonna throw some jokes in there.’ We took ourselves a little too seriously on Happier Than Ever. When you start to embrace cringe, you’re so much happier. You have so much more fun.”

“BIRDS OF A FEATHER”
BILLIE: “This song has that ending where I just keep going—it’s the highest I’ve ever belted in my life. I was alone in the dark, thinking, ‘You know what? I’m going to try something.’ And I literally just kept going higher and higher. This is a girl who could not belt until I was literally 18. I couldn’t physically do it. So I’m so proud of that. I remember coming home and being like, ‘Mom! Listen!’”

“WILDFLOWER”
BILLIE: “To me, [the message here is] I’m not asking for reassurance. I am 100% confident that you love me. That’s not the problem. The problem is this thing that I can’t shake. It’s a girl code song. It’s about breaking girl code, which is one of the most challenging places. And it isn’t about cheating. It isn’t about anything even bad. It was just something I couldn’t get out of my head. And in some ways, this song helped me understand what I was feeling, like, ‘Oh, maybe this is actually affecting me more than I thought.’ I love this song for so many reasons. It’s so tortured and overthinky.”

“THE GREATEST”
BILLIE: “To us, this is the heart of the album. It completes the whole thing. Making it was sort of a turning point. Everything went pretty well after that. It kind of woke us back up.”
FINNEAS: “When you realize you’re willing to go somewhere that someone else isn’t, it’s so devastating. And everybody has been in some dynamic in their life or their relationship like that. When you realize that you’d sacrifice and wear yourself out and compromise all these things, but the person you’re in love with won’t make those sacrifices, or isn’t in that area? To me, that’s what that song is about. It’s like, you don’t even want to know how lonely this is.”

“L’AMOUR DE MA VIE”
FINNEAS: “The album is all about Billie. It’s not a narrative album about a fictional character. But we have always loved songs within songs within songs. Here, you’ve just listened to Billie sound so heartbroken in ‘THE GREATEST,’ and then she sings this song that’s like the antibody to that. It’s like, ‘You know what? Fuck you anyway.’ And then she goes to the club.”

“BLUE”
“The first quarter of ‘BLUE’ is a song Finneas and I made when I was 14 called ‘True Blue.’ We played it at little clubs before I had anything out, and never [released it] because we aged out of it. Years went by. Then, for a time, the second album was going to include one additional song called ‘Born Blue.’ It was totally different, and it didn’t make the cut. We never thought about it again. Then, in 2022, I was doing my laundry and found out ‘True Blue’ had been leaked. At first I was like ‘Oh god, they fucking stole my shit again,’ but then I couldn’t stop listening. I went on YouTube and typed ‘Billie Eilish True Blue’ to find all the rips of it, because I didn’t even have the original. Then it hit us, like, ‘Ooh, you know what’d be cool? What if we took both of these old songs, resurrected them, and made them into one?’ The string motif is the melody from the bridge of ‘THE GREATEST,’ which is also in ‘SKINNY,’ which starts the album. So it also ends the album.”


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