Portrait of singer Billie Eilish in neon green glasses, hair, and jacket.
(Meghan Joyce • The Pupil Life)

Billie Eilish made historical past for ladies by sweeping all 4 of the largest awards on the 62nd Grammy Awards Jan. 26. Since then, although, she has acquired intense backlash in opposition to a remark made in her first Vogue cowl story. 

The interview was launched Feb. three and incorporates a controversial comment in opposition to rap artists who develop a persona in music, distinct from the true particular person behind the lyrics. Within the profile, Eilish stated, “There’s a distinction between mendacity in a music and writing a narrative. There are tons of songs the place individuals are simply mendacity. There’s loads of that in rap proper now, from those that I do know who rap.” 

Eilish additionally claimed that many musicians in hip-hop take part in “posturing,” a time period that has been extremely debated all through musical historical past, which means behaving or appearing in a deceptive method for the aim of impressing others. 

She claims that distorting the reality has grow to be part of the tradition in rap and has witnessed it firsthand, however in keeping with the Vogue interview, her inventive course of is completely different. Her brother and songwriter Finneas O’Connell works with Eilish to develop the tales and darkish alter-egos portrayed within the grim, somber sounds and phrases of her artwork. 

For instance, in her music “Bellyache,” Eilish sings concerning the remorse and guilt felt after an act of homicide. She writes, “My V is for Vendetta / Thought that I’d really feel higher / However now I bought a bellyache.” And though the music is just not autobiographical, her followers are in a position to hook up with that sinking feeling of recklessness, regret and loneliness after a mistake made. 

Above an acoustic guitar strumming, she sings about shedding her thoughts. Are the feelings evoked from a fictional expertise any much less helpful than in the event that they have been from trustworthy, weak lyrics? Eilish claims she isn’t posturing right here as a result of her aim is to not mislead followers, however to jot down a narrative that may nonetheless be appreciated, cherished and related to the lives within the crowd.

The darkish lullabies she sings, created in her childhood bed room with O’Connell, are cherished around the globe. What’s it about these unhappy songs that pulls her followers so intensely? All through historical past, melancholic melodies have been a big a part of our tradition in occasions of despair or turmoil, equivalent to Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell all through the 60s. 

Eilish and her music speaks to a era that has grown up in chaos amidst 9/11, college shootings and imminent local weather change. The anxiousness within the air seeps into the sonic and lyrical facets of “Ocean Eyes” — the only from 2016 that sparked her rise to fame — when she sings, “Burning cities / And napalm skies … I’ve been strolling via / A world gone blind.” 

Eilish attracts on a mixture of macabre and gothic photos in each of her albums and her visible look on stage. Her jet-black hair is usually dyed with coloured streaks. She maintains a clean, bored gaze into the gang, making it troublesome to gauge her emotion at any second, however nonetheless her tender but passionate voice resonates deeply. 

And beneath an outsized T-shirt, she typically conceals the same old pop-princess costume and hourglass silhouette. The mysteriousness in her picture and her songs retains followers on the sting of their seats, however does it separate her genuine self from the tales she invents in her data? Or is she extra real via the brutal honesty concerning the characters in her songs and the clear rejection to evolve to the pop trade’s supreme?

Perhaps it’s much more spectacular to have the ability to encourage such sturdy emotion from a fabrication. Both method, Eilish is making strides and sparking fires within the music trade, and she’s going to quickly grow to be, if she isn’t already, a revolution.

Kyla Walker PO ’22 is TSL’s music columnist. She loves taking part in guitar, studying any and all fiction and doubtless belongs within the 1960s.

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