Billie Eilish: Happier Than Ever
Full disclosure: I haven't listened to Billie Eilish since her debut EP, 2017's Don't Smile at Me. So I really went in to Happier Than Ever with zero expectations. (It's not as hard as you'd think to avoid what's happening on the radio.) More than anything, I was curious if my initial enthusiasm about her career trajectory held up after several years.
The album is understated, which I think is to be expected if Eilish's debut was anything to go by. The issue is it's oftentimes sleepy instead of interestingly subtle. Nothing wrong with music that calms and eases, especially given the subject matter is quite emotionally draining. But the album runs the risk of being so understated it's less subtle and more boring. Drones on with no real emotional weight or, perhaps more accurately, apathy in lieu of genuine emotional expression.
Eilish does have a nice voice for all she does with it. It's more apparent on tracks "my future" and "GOLDWING." There's real soul, raw emotive gravitas scattered throughout. All of that is due to the textures of her tone. But it almost seems wasted on music that's overall sleepy and a penchant for keeping her vocal performance unremarkable.
I do appreciate the lyrical content. Honest, simple, relatable. With as many facets of this piece that seem right, however, when they come together they seem a bit disjointed, uninspiring and uninteresting instead of cohesive and nuanced. A decent piece of music that suffers, I believe, from a lack of cohesion between lyric, vocal and composition.