On July 30, 2021 at exactly 12 a.m., I laid down on my cousin’s couch in darkness watching her projector light up the ceiling with a swirling galaxy of colors as we listened to the “Happier Than Ever” album for the first time, both of us lying in silence listening to Billie Eilish tell her story.
Through this album, we see the sheer growth of Billie as an artist and a person. Billie said in her 2021 Vevo interview that she wanted this album to be open for people to find their own meaning in each song and know that, “their own interpretation is the right interpretation.” Although Billie wants us to each have our own interpretation, one main theme she carries through this album is her growth as a person. One aspect of that self improvement is disregarding the opinions of other people.
In her previous album, “When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go,” the tone of her voice is lower, darker and grim. It is iconic. Her sound is very distinct. She speaks to people through her music. Her voice is soft and raspy, giving listeners a sense of comfort and familiarity. You hear her raw voice clearly through her songs as if she is talking to you. Although some of the mellow and blurred tones carry through into the new album in songs such as “Everybody Dies,” “Overheated,” “Halley’s Comet” and the beginning of “Happier Than Ever,” one of her goals in creating this album was to make it feel like a complete collection of songs but not the same song over and over. To achieve this, she incorporated a wider variety of sounds, including bossa nova, rock, voice layering and choir.
One of my favorite parts of the album is the seamless transition between the two songs “Not My Responsibility” and “Overheated.” “Overheated” begins with the same end melody of “Not My Responsibility. ” These two songs move seamlessly into each other, not only in the melody but also in the lyrics. She goes from talking about people’s opinions in “Not My Responsibility”’ to being “Overheated” by the media and bombardment she faces in public. In “Not My Responsibility,” Billie recites a dialogue with a beat in the background moving from ear to ear as you listen. In both songs, she comments on her every move being constantly watched and being judged for her actions, opinions and body. Billie also mentions the controversy over her clothing while interrogating why her choice of dress unreasonably matters so much to others. Moreover, Billie questions and challenges people’s perceptions and opinions of her. She portrays this through questioning, asking what people want from her and if she should change herself for the approval of others. The overarching theme of these two songs is to not care about the opinions of outsiders. This is especially important for Billie, who is a public figure constantly being watched as people try to find her flaws. But, as Billie says “It’s so weird that we care so much until we don’t.”