Fri 30 Jul 2021

Billie Eilish releases new album, Happier Than Ever


Today, generational talent Billie Eilish has released her sophomore album Happier Than Ever  to critical acclaim. Receiving rave reviews from all corners of the music world, here’s what the critics are saying.

NME says “And just when it feels like you’ve got Happier Than Ever’s measure, it ducks off somewhere else – the ethereal ‘Goldwing’ opens with a segment of the sacred Hymn to Vena, while ‘Male Fantasy’ wittily picks apart the stilted dialogue and near-instant orgasms of a certain type of pornography. A pulsing ballad, ‘My Future’ is a slinking love song written to Eilish’s own assured future, while ‘Everybody Dies’ gets existential atop spacey, soaring pop. As it amps up, Eilish’s voice breaks into an angered crack: ‘We tell each other lies’.”

The Guardian wrote “It clearly doesn’t sound anything like Black Sabbath or Nirvana, but there are moments when, spiritually at least, Happier Than Ever feels like a 21st-century pop equivalent of the former’s Sabotage or the latter’s In Utero, two albums that also succeeded in a painting a compellingly bleak but empathetic picture of stardom. There’s something very realistic about the way the righteous anger of both spoken word piece ‘Not My Responsibility’ and ‘Overheated’ – “Is it news? News to who?” – doesn’t quite mask the hurt of being judged “for looking just like the rest of you”, or the way the lyrics of ‘Getting Older’ thrash around, jumping from gratitude for her success to horror at the intensity of adulation and the weight of expectation Eilish has attracted. You listen to it and think: yeah, I’d probably feel like that if I were her.”

The Telegraph wrote “Billie Eilish is such a curious pop superstar, a teenage tyro who conquered the world with whispery vocals and subdued micro-beats, softly singing about the trials of being a sensitive soul in brutal times. Her sweet melodies and introspective lyrics are set to a digital production so understated you almost feel like you have to press your ear closer to the speaker to catch everything she’s murmuring…”

Slant Magazine says “Happier Than Ever is discernibly more upbeat, a tone set by the album’s first single, the jazzy ‘My Future’ which finds Eilish pondering some semblance of self-love in the midst of romantic independence: “I know supposedly I’m lonely now/Know I’m supposed to be unhappy without someone/But aren’t I someone?”

The album also nudges Eilish beyond the trip-hop and trap sounds that dominated her past work, resulting in a more sonically diverse set that allows the singer—whose downbeat vocals have often been compared to Lorde’s—to explore the more textured, melodic aspects of her voice. And when the songs don’t seamlessly segue into one another, they’re thoughtfully sequenced to trace Eilish’s path to happiness—or something close to it.”

CLASH writes “It’s the penchant for torch songs which truly marks this album out from her debut. Dialling down the day-glo sonic tapestries, there’s an increased reliance on Billie’s voice as an instrument. Dissolving classic tropes into a studio perfume, songs such as ‘Billie Bossa Nova’ – with its almost Impressionistic take on South American sounds – or the heavenly title track, with its Billie Holiday influence, resonate in a way we’ve not quite heard from Billie before.

“Lyrically, she’s attempting to find a personal form of balance – between responsibilities and freedom, between mistakes and successes. Take the subtle introspection of the title song, or the statements underpinning ‘Therefore I Am’ – you can even look towards ‘Halley’s Comet’, with its promise of return and renewal.

A record of quite complexity, ‘Happier Than Ever’ closes with ‘Male Fantasy’. A subdued finale, it quietly picks apart a tale of heartbreak, inverting this tale of love lost to further explore her own role in a male dominated entertainment world, one where her image and body are objectified.”

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