- Kathleen Maurer
Album Review: "Happier Than Ever" by Billie Eilish
After 2 years and the release of an entire documentary, Billie Eilish has released another album and it is... *chef’s kiss*. Eilish’s album, Happier Than Ever, is composed of 16 songs and the entire thing feels like you’re reading journal entries.
Many of the songs all sound like odes to circumstances of vulnerability. The songs “Getting Older” and “my future” speak mainly to the singer’s self about the recognition of self growth and progression and the doubts and excitement, respectively, over the future. Other songs such as, “Oxytocin”, “GOLDWING”, “Not My Responsibility”, “NDA”, and “Therefore I Am” speak mainly of the standoffish behavior she enjoys projecting to the people that create negativity surrounding her and her success. Then there are the songs about love and mainly the loss of it; “I Didn’t Change My Number”, “Billie Bossa Nova”, “Lost Cause”, “Halley’s Comet”, “Happier Than Ever”, and “Male Fantasy”. These songs range from seductive to somber. “Halley’s Comet” and “Male Fantasy” are slower and more soulful and discuss the sadness surrounding lost love. “I Didn’t Change My Number”, “Billie Bossa Nova”, and “Lost Cause” have a mischievous tone that shows both confidence over the singer’s parting with past love as well as how her past partners were not worthy of her affection. “Happier Than Ever” was actually quite a surprise because it follows a quiet and intimate tone but then bursts into a full and passionate song about how happy the singer is that her ex is gone.
There are a few outlier topics within the album. The debut single that hinted at the album, “Your Power” speaks about abuse and sexual assault against minors and how it is an abuse of power for assaulters to look for girls that they know are in there mid to late teens and pretend that they didn’t realize the girls that they were abusing were underage because they neglected to ask. Another song, “Everybody Dies”, discusses how living forever and running from the things that scare you cannot relieve you of the fears you hold in your life. You have to just face them. Lastly, there is the song, “OverHeated”, which I wholeheartedly believe is about the paparazzi photo that was released of Eilish in form fitting clothing during hot weather. This photo launched a storm of conversations surrounding body positivity since Eilish is known for her avoidance of displays of her own body and her use of oversized clothing to ensure that nobody sees the shape of her body. Within the song, Eilish shares that she really does not understand why it was such a big deal because it was a hot day outside so she wore clothing appropriate for the weather. Oddly enough, it was my favorite song on the album. It had the coolest sound. However, a very close second was “NDA”.
This album had the best song transition that I had ever heard. The transition from “NDA” to “Therefore I Am” was so clean, I truly can’t describe it; literally. I’ve tried several variations of ways to truly comprise the disbelief and excitement that I held in my SOUL when it perfectly, and I truly mean perfectly, flowed from "NDA" to “Therefore I Am”. There was not a single lost beat, no skip in the track, nothing to indicate that the song even changed which was honestly one of the things that made the entire album so special.
Everything on the album seemed deliberate and well manicured. It was purposeful and nothing on the album seemed out of place. All of the songs had a beautiful amount of variation that made the songs easy to distinguish while maintaining a similar theme that fit well with each other. Overall, I think that Billie Eilish has grown an incredible amount between albums and has shown that growth through her music. The songs seem better produced, her voice is full while keeping her signature breathy tone, and there is a lot of complexity within the lyrics and the sound of the song. I truly think that this is the best album I have listened to since the start of 2021 and I think that whether you like Billie Eilish or not, you will probably find at least one song that you will love on this album.
It is a genuine masterpiece.