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Billie Eilish - Happier Than Ever (Album Review)

Wednesday, 11 August 2021 Written by Jacob Brookman

On her second album Billie Eilish stays with the emo mumble-pop that made her a global star, while making something a little more sombre and, in certain ways, confident. The result is a record of great poise, intelligence and currency, but still lacking world-beating songs.

That said, the record will likely solidify the LA singer’s place within pop’s A-List. ‘Happier Than Ever’ comprises 16 tracks co-written and produced with brother Finneas over lockdown, and it expertly details the curious cocktail of pitfalls and privilege that come with being a teenage superstar. 

In this regard, NDA is a standout. The track combines Eilish’s signature low slung vocals with a chunky beat and minimalist riffs. The lyrics are terrific, describing the horrors of her lifestyle with humour: “Got a stalker walking up and down the street / Says he's Satan and he'd like to meet.”

The whole album is full of this kind of fresh and candid lyric writing from your regular run of the mill 19-year-old...just one who has to get potential suitors to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements. And it continues on monster hit Therefore I Am. This track riffs on the familiar pop star trope of settling scores with poison pen writers and detractors through searing, witty wordplay.

Such an approach is a bit of a high wire act. It could easily result in a crash (think Taylor Swift's 'Reputation') but on 'Happier Than Ever' it plays into one of Eilish’s most appealing traits: her deadpan delivery. This is undersigned by gloomy wit and intellect, which you will only notice if you are paying attention.

That said, there is some pretty pedestrian material on ‘Happier Than Ever’, with tracks such as Your Power, Male Fantasy and even opener Getting Older feeling like mediocre songwriting elevated by a unique singer. But then again, that is the alchemy of music, is it not? Would some of this material be ignored if produced elsewhere? There are thousands of bedroom singer-producers who would assure you so. Maybe that doesn't matter. Maybe sometimes musicians are more interesting than their music.

Billie Eilish Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri June 03 2022 - BELFAST SSE Arena Belfast
Sat June 04 2022 - DUBLIN 3Arena
Sun June 05 2022 - DUBLIN 3Arena
Tue June 07 2022 - MANCHESTER AO Arena
Wed June 08 2022 - MANCHESTER AO Arena
Fri June 10 2022 - LONDON O2 Arena
Sat June 11 2022 - LONDON O2 Arena
Sun June 12 2022 - LONDON O2 Arena
Tue June 14 2022 - GLASGOW SSE Hydro
Wed June 15 2022 - BIRMINGHAM Utilita Arena
Thu June 16 2022 - LONDON O2 Arena
Sat June 25 2022 - LONDON O2 Arena
Sun June 26 2022 - LONDON O2 Arena

Compare & Buy Billie Eilish Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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