In Happier Than Ever, Eilish dares to be both vulnerable and angry.
The songs “Everybody Dies” and “Getting Older” evoke Ocean Eyes in their rawness, yet they probe much deeper into Eilish’s personal life. Throughout “Everybody Dies,” listeners glean that Eilish has reached a transition point in her life, one where she is learning to “prioritize her pleasure.” Eilish’s vocals and poignant lyrics carry the song. Eilish keeps returning to the theme that growing up entails knowing yourself better and learning to love yourself. Like “Getting Older,” “Everybody Dies” has few instrumentals. While Eilish delves into a somber subject, the song’s lyrics suggest she doesn’t fear death.. Eilish takes on an almost protective role, repeating, “You are not alone.” The rawness of the vocals help to make this song shine. I especially enjoyed the beauty of her voice cracking.
Eilish takes on an omniscient role in “Your Power,” my favorite song on the album. Eilish again dares to be vulnerable here, but shows her inner strength. “Your Power” is a narrative about another girl who is preyed on by a predator Eilish seems to be acquainted with. Eilish is accompanied by an acoustic guitar whose simple sound allows her voice to take center stage.
The album gets slightly more upbeat in the song “Billie Boss Nova.” It evokes Italian summer nights and “vacationland.” Here, Eilish takes on the role of a femme fatale. She seems cognizant of her effect on men and confident in what she wants.
“Not My Responsibility” likewise speaks directly to men. This almost feels like a manifesto. Eilish calls out men, plainly asking, “Does my chest provoke you?” “Not My Responsibility” feels almost otherworldly in how it so beautifully articulates the double standards that exist for women in the music industry.
Listeners see rule-breaking Billie come back in “Didn’t Change My Number” and “Overheated.” “Didn’t Change my Number” is less vulnerable and more angry. Eilish’s pure anger and energy come through with electronic beats. Eilish asserts, “Don’t take it out on me / I’m out of sympathy for you.” Through the more trap-like beats in “Didn’t Change My Number,” listeners get a glimpse of a more fiery aspect of Eilish’s love life. In “Overheated,” listeners see Eilish’s ego come out in the best possible way. Among the slow, trappy beats, Eilish leaves no traces of vulnerability or shreds of sadness when she asserts, “Can’t be deleted, can’t be repeated/I’m overheated.”
Lena Thakor is a Freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected].