Singer-songwriter Billie Eilish is taking the music world by storm. Her whispery, teenaged, vaguely goth electro-pop is intriguing the kids and confusing the adults, like all good music should. The only problem is that her debut album isn’t actually that good. Eilish has a good voice, soothing and sugary, but she doesn’t let it go anywhere. Every song sounds great in terms of instrumentation; there are atmospheric drums, gothy synths, and trap influences that don’t cross the line into sounding like a cash-grab 6ix9ine song, but her vocals are desperately lacking. The whispering gets old fast, and I’ve heard great things about her lyrics but the opportunity is lost on me because I can’t hear what she’s saying! Her voice makes her sound so tired, as she falls into talk-singing and trailing off at the end of lines. These songs could be great, if only the vocals were different. Album opener Bad Guy is pretty good. Like every song, it’s got a great hook, sparse but jazzy and with quick breaths of urgency, and doesn’t feel sluggish. Xanny uses a bass drop that feels like a cat purring to great effect, but quickly feels overdone. In terms of lyrical content, even her attempts to be real and edgy and evocative still feel incredibly palatable, unlike the goth music she’s compared to. However, I absolutely love the drum sound, as it sounds like a real drum kit and makes the track feel more upbeat and interesting. You Should See Me In A Crown and All Good Girls Go To Hell are the few highlights on the album. Eilish seems to be having a modicum of a good time, and they feel like a more genuine look at her personality. Both are hooky, and All Good Girls has a great groove that eventually leads to a completely sick bass solo. In A Crown has hip-hop influenced swagger, but it still doesn’t feel like much, unfortunately because I did really want to enjoy these songs. The whole record is extraordinarily unvaried, and every interesting idea introduced feels as tired as her voice by the end. That being said, I understand why people are flocking to her music. Her music is more interesting than a lot of top 40, and she is giving a voice to the misunderstood. Unfortunately, it’s just not good enough for me.
Charlotte Turner (Queen's Square Library)