Billie Eilish flirts with controversy on the album opener.
I’ve listened to When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? in full several times. It was one of the first times covering music I’ve felt disconnected from the generation before me. I FEEL OLD. Eilish, 17, could very well be a pop princess of her class (she’ll snarl at the thought, but bookmark me), and one of her new tunes, “Bad Guy,” is indicative of the singing teen sensation’s star power.
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? is moody and ominous, but “Bad Guy,” Billie’s most obvious lean towards pop, is perfection. A subzero beat tumbles over her low grumbles as she provocatively taunts men. There’s a lyric in particular that’s worth taking a closer look at:
“Make-your-girlfriend-mad type / Might-seduce-your-dad type.”
Billie’s image doesn’t exude sexual prowess, but she’s harnessing her drive anyway. Empowering, but for a 17-year-old… it’s problematic. Even if it is Billie’s decision to fantasize and pursue her friends’ fathers, there were a team of adult label reps, producers, managers, whoever, happy to look the other way. Or, ~it’s not that deep, it’s just a lyric.~ I guess if a 16-year-old Britney Spears can bare her belly in a Catholic schoolgirl uniform, Billie can flirt with daddies.
The production on “Bad Guy” is badass. Finneas O’Connell cooked up an infectious electric chime that gallops to the next verse; a gleaming highlight of the track. In between snaps, Billie’s breathy vocals become submerged by an icy bass.
There’s also a Dave Meyers-directed music video for the song, but I preferred the concocted creation in my brain versus Meyers’ uninspired ideas (he blatantly rips off photographers Pierpaolo Ferrariand Maurizio Cattelan in it).
If you haven’t listened to “Bad Guy” yet, give it a spin. It’s the sparkly pop gem of Sleep, and deserves your undivided attention: