Happier than Ever | Billie Eilish’s coming of age
Happier than ever is Billie Eilish’s second studio album, released on July 30th, 2021.
Co-written and produced with her brother, Finneas O’Connell, the album is a door open on thoughts and feelings, showing a confident and grown-up artist.
Billie Eilish is getting older
Becoming famous at a very young age was not easy. Her debut album, When we all fall asleep, where do we go?, immediately earned her 6 Grammys and made Billie a worldwide recognized artist in a very short time.
Any sixteen-year-old girl would have been scared by the intricate adult world of the music industry while also having to face fame and bear what comes with it.
But now, the singer has come of age and she is no longer afraid of speaking her mind.
I’m getting older, I’ve got more on my shoulders (…)
I’ve had some trauma, did things I didn’t wanna
Was too afraid to tell ya, but now, I think it’s time.
The lyrics of the opening track, Getting older, embody the album’s meaning. “I had wanted to get those screams out for a very long time and it was very nice to”, the singer said.
The album talks about the sense of responsibility, past personal traumas, relationship breakups, and the struggles in the entertainment industry.
Objectification and body shaming
One of the predominant topics in the record is body shaming and the public discussion of the objectification of women in the entertainment industry.
Deciding one’s worth based on body image is a public issue. It was even more relevant to the singer’s initial status as an underage girl. For that reason, Billie deliberately chose to wear baggy clothes to turn the attention away from her image.
With the new album, the artist is now open to discussion, confident, and aware.
In March 2020, during the first show of Where Do We Go? World Tour in Miami (interrupted due to the pandemic), the singer showed a spoken word video interlude, Not my responsibility, where she shed layers of clothing in slow motion.
Happier than Ever features the full version of Not my responsibility.
We make assumptions about people based on their size
We decide who they are
We decide what they’re worth
If I wear more, if I wear less
Who decides what that makes me? What that means?
Is my value based only on your perception?
Or is your opinion of me not my responsibility?
The objectification by the media is also addressed in the tracks OverHeated, Goldwing and Therefore I am.
Being affected in the first person, Billie uses her popularity to make the public aware and instill self-reflection on the matter.
They’re gonna tell you what you wanna hearfrom Goldwing
Then they’re gonna disappear
Gonna claim you like a souvenir
Just to sell you in a year…
A bittersweet album
Billie Eilish recorded her second album at Finneas’s home studio. A cozy environment where the siblings expressed the artist’s vulnerability through the contrasting harsh instruments and mellow vocals. The 16 tracks smoothly proceed through electronic sounds and downtempo melodies.
Upon its release, the album ranked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
Happier than ever is a bittersweet album. Having reached a mature age, Billie’s self-disclosure tells the difficulties and wishes of being a teenager under the spotlight.