“Happier Than Ever” Is Finally Here

The 19-year-old singer shows off her range and delves into personal topics in her most profound album yet.

Billie Eilish dropped her long awaited sophomore album, “Happier Than Ever,” on Friday. The album is inspired by the singer’s personal reflections, particularly on the far reaching effects fame has had on her life.

Striking a more somber and thoughtful note than her debut studio album, and global smash hit, “When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” Eilish explores relationships and the issues facing young women. Her artful songwriting and captivating sound allow Eilish to smartly touch on heavy topics, including sexual coercion in the acoustic and intimate “Your Power,” and more subtly in the upbeat tune, “Getting Older.”

The majority of the album, however, centers around the 19-year-old’s own experience with fame and its pervasive, often suffocating effects. The title track, really a love song, is also colored by the effects of stardom on her romantic life and how her public persona is perceived by the person she is in a relationship with.

Image courtesy of Darkroom/Interscope Records.

In several tracks she also explores a topic close to her: body image.

Eilish chose to wear loose fitting clothing for much of her early career, not wanting to draw attention to her body or become subjected to public scrutiny. Recently, however, the star laced up a custom-made Gucci corset on the cover of Vogue. She addresses the public attention on her body and criticisms in the spoken word track, “Not My Responsibility.”

“If I wear more, if I wear less, who decides what that makes me? What that means?” she asks. She then concludes, matter of factly, that others opinions of her are not her responsibility. “OverHeated” also addresses the topic of body image and the harm of social media on women’s perceptions of their figures — taking back ownership of her body.

“You wanna kill me? You wanna hurt me?” she asks pointedly. “Stop being flirty,” she scoffs in response, “It’s kind of working.”

Image via @billieeilish on Instagram.

Evoking a markedly different style than her first album, “Happier Than Ever” is more restrained and less ostentatious — perhaps a nod to her growth, both personally and as an artist. Eilish’s bedroom pop roots come through in some of the airier, lighter sounds. Her vocals, however, are stronger, more jazzy, and significantly less whispery. “Halley’s Comet” is a great example of how she is able to maintain her intimate, youthful sound, while infusing songs with powerful vocals, a groovy piano and a distorted fade at the end.

Produced with her brother, Finneas, Eilish said in an Instagram post that the two “were just on cloud 9 making this album.” She also said making this album “was the most fulfilling most satisfying most profound experience” she has ever had with her music.

And it shows in the power of her lyrics, in the experimentation with new instruments and sounds and her willingness to delve into difficult, personal topics.

Listen to “Happier Than Ever” on Spotify here:

And you can watch the “Happier Than Ever” music video, directed by Eilish herself, here:

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