Written by Eric Sperrazza
Allow me to share a moment that occurred recently. First, full disclosure; I’m a Gen X’er who considers himself eclectic, but leans in on classic rock, vintage punk, and 90s hip-hop. I’m not always the first to know about younger artists.
With that said, I have kids who swear Billie Eilish is a musical genius. And that’s fine. I’m not going to debate it. If that is what they deem legendary, then who am I to say different to them or their generation? So I was a bit intrigued when I was offered the assignment of reviewing Billie Eilish‘s new album, Happier Than Ever. What was it that I should be listening for or even comparing it to? One thing was clear to me… I was clearly not the right demographic. So, my oldest daughter followed me down to my office and settled in to listen to the album, by my side.
There was something haunting and truly sexy about this record. My jaw dropped from the first note and took me on a ride that left me aghast. Eilish‘s voice curls like smoke into the room and infects everything around it, all the while sounding like a memory of an old rhythm and blues singer from generations before.
As vintage as her voice and even the instrumentals can be, make no mistake, there is something dark lurking and building in the words and the tone of the album. This is no more evident than in songs like “Getting Older,” “Billie Bossa Nova,” and “Halley’s Comet.” The gears shift to a dangerous, sultry, and dominating empowerment served up with the track, “Oxytocin.”
And just like that, you get an angelic vibe with “GOLDWING.” That is if the vibe was dragged across the floor of a dimly lit nightclub in the East Village. Equally powerful was the song, “Therefore I Am,” an anthem for anyone and the most punk I have heard all week.
The crescendo of this whole album was the title track, “Happier than Ever.” This song encapsulated all the emotions and styles presented to you, on the entire album, starting with the whisperingly, eerie golden age voice coming through an old Zenith radio to darkness encroaching in and on to a full-on explosion of all the feels that Eilish seemingly ever had.
An explosion that has you cheering Billie Eilish on. An explosion that has kept it on loop in my office. Tonight my oldest daughter got to see me learn a very valuable lesson. She saw her Dad remember to never stop listening. She also saw her Dad make an oath to never lock himself away in the past for too long because there was still so much good art out there. And that, right there, is my review of Billie Eilish‘s Happier Than Ever. Pure. Performance. Art. You can quote me on that.
Connect with Billie Eilish