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  • ruby crowhurst


RATING: 8/10

Previous to the release of Happier Than Ever, the world seemed to be crying out to Billie Eilish to change things up a bit. Her melancholy sound with whispering vocals were a phenomenon two years ago, but since then, everyone was looking for something different.

Its safe to say that the singles previous to the album's release split fans, some loving them, some finding them, well, boring. However, with the release of the full project, Billie Eilish proved all of those critics wrong, as Happier Than Ever offers some of the best music Eilish and her brother and producer FINNEAS have ever created.

Happier Than Ever is, at its heart, a coming of age album. Billie Elish talks us through relationship struggles, her own mental battles with her career and future, and the idea of sexuality and the way you present yourself to the world and the way the world responds to it; which is especially poignant as a young woman. The introductory track 'Getting Older' takes on Eilish's classic lowkey melancholy style and the lyrics are filled with therapy-like self-realisation.

The lyrics and general messaging are definitely the high points of this album, as you see Eilish become more mature and arguably more self-assured through each song. Eilish certainly doesn't hold back expressing her inner turmoil within her music, to the point where when you really look at the lyrics, it can become almost difficult to read. 'Not My Responsibility' the track in the middle of the album which borders on spoken word, presents Eilish's musings over her own perceptions of herself, and other people's perceptions of her "Do my shoulders provoke you Does my chest? / Am I my stomach? My hips? / The body I was born with / Is it not what you wanted?"

It seems that Billie Eilish went to the Taylor Swift school of 'picking singles that aren't representative of the impressive nature of the album' before releasing Happier Than Ever. The singles weren't inherently bad, with 'Your Power's honest commentary on power play in relationships, and 'Lost Cause' eff you attitude, but there were far better songs on the album that ould have been chosen.

Take, for example, the title track 'Happier Than Ever' which happens to be objectively the best song on the project. The track begins with the signature low volume vocals and peaceful guitar strumming until halfway through it begins to build. The way the tension builds with the use of an electric guitar and vocals getting more and more aggressive and passionate before launching into the borderline rock in the second half of the track is one of the most phenomenal moments in any song released this year. It leaves you absolutely craving for more, with two minutes of this sound just not being enough. To the surprise of well, everyone, Billie Eilish became a rockstar for two minutes. It feels a little disappointing to head back into the low-key nature of the rest of the album, but it does show how versatile Eilish really can be when she wants to be and opens a door for her to try more of this sound in future releases.

Overall, Happier Than Ever is an impressive successor to the phenomenon that was Eilish's 2019 debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?. It would have been difficult to make sure this second album held its own, but Eilish managed it with relative ease, with the brutally honest lyrics and experimentation with sounds really pushing it up to the level it needed to be at to be on par with the debut. Amongst it all though, the real takeaway is that Billie Eilish needs to get back in the studio and make the rock album she's teased us with her.


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