Issue 14

All the good girls go to hell: A Soul-Stirring Yet Undeniably Catchy Single By Breakthrough Singer-Songwriter Billie Eilish

Meera Anand
Meera Anand recommends a song that draws a grim picture of what the world might look like unless our leaders come to a consensus on taking proper climate action.

Listen to the song here

19-year-old singer-songwriter Billie Eilish is known for her cryptic songs that are surprisingly lilting. Yet more often than not, they point toward a dark story. All the good girls go to hell is no different. Its music video was dropped in September 2019, as the fifth single in her breakthrough album – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go and features the award-winning singer having white wings, soaked to the skin in black oil, struggling to make her way out of a pool of sludge. Instantly reminding the viewer of a helpless bird stuck in an oil spill. My Lucifer is lonely, sings a wispy voice struggling for breath, as she tries to escape the clutches of the pool, and the listener immediately understands she is referring to the devastating and inescapable consequences of climate change. 

When the video was dropped on YouTube, Billie even confirmed her message through the video’s description. “A note from Billie”: “Right now there are millions of people all over the world begging our leaders to pay attention. Our earth is warming up at an unprecedented rate, icecaps are melting, our oceans are rising, our wildlife is being poisoned and our forests are burning.” 

Standing there, killing time, can’t commit to anything but a crime, sings Billie, possibly taking a dig at our world leaders’ unwillingness to address the climate crisis. The video then has the weary-looking singer managing to come out of the pool, but now staggering through a street, engulfed in flames. The fire continues to burn down her surroundings, as she turns her piercing gaze directly towards the camera and sings, Hills burn in California. The chorus line airs her fears about the rising sea levels, Once the water starts to rise. 

It seems Billie Eilish is not the first singer to express concern about the changing climate through her music. Every day gets hotter than the one before, Running out of water, it’s about to go down sings Childish Gambino in his 2018 hit song, Feels Like Summer. Likewise, the English pop-rock band, The 1975, opened their 2019 album, Notes on a Conditional Form, with a monologue by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s where she calls for civil disobedience to fight for proper climate action. 

While Eilish skillfully uses her lyrics to ask difficult questions and urge humans to show more compassion to the planet, the music itself is incredibly unique; confusing almost. ‘Flitting between gothic, cartoonish show tunes, slow-burning, glossy pop and sculptural, choral electronic strangeness’ as The Guardian describes it. Her voice is fluid but the sounds are funky. Something about the teenager’s intense breathy vocals, neo-gothic vibe, and use of electric sounds, immediately draws a listener in, making them want to truly understand the message she is trying to spread through her craft. 

Meera Anand is a third year undergraduate student at Ashoka University, who is currently pursuing a major in Economics and a minor in Media Studies. 

We publish all articles under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives license. This means any news organisation, blog, website, newspaper or newsletter can republish our pieces for free, provided they attribute the original source (OpenAxis).

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