Billie Eilish new album out now

by | Music

Third Billie Eilish album Hit Me Hard And Soft came out this week with no pre-singles. Spoiler: we love it.

At the tender age of 22 Billie Eilish has already impacted the pop music industry to the point where a new album has become a seismic event, with listeners wondering, what will this one be like?

After a teenage of goth-pop with a lot of spiders and contemptuous pouting, the girl who was equally absolutely determined to be herself and absolutely set on taking the world by storm was forced to grow up at lightning speed in the glare of the media spotlight.

And at exactly the same time she was also, with her brother Finneas, determined to put out music that defined her, and not allow herself to slip into whatever the mainstream music industry thought would sell that year.

It’s a craving, not a crushBillie eilish

Her last album, Happier than Ever, was already a sea change and a willful statement of intent; a coming of age, if you like, as – at least for the album’s promo push – she shucked off the anti-shape-wear baggy style that had come to define her look, and went full 50s vamp with blond locks and retro lingerèe. Lyrically, that album dwelled largely on how it was to be an adolescent whose tiniest move was plastered across smartphone screens, examined, and interpreted to the nth degree.

And now we have Hit Me Hard and Soft, released 16th May, with absolutely no lead-up of singles, just blam – the entire album, out on all your favourite streaming services.

A high, gentle voice that hits hard anyway

So what does Hit Me Hard and Soft sound like? Bring with it?

Opener Skinny is open, sparse, classic Eilish with a high, gentle voice that hits hard anyway with its lyrics like the line “The internet is hungry for the meanest kind of funny and somebody’s gotta feed it”. It melts gently into a beautifully simple string arrangement before closing with what are the starting beats of the following song Lunch.

Insistent and quite funky

Lunch changes things up with an upbeat, insistent and quite funky, sassily salacious rumination on being overtaken by a push of lust for a girl: “I could eat that girl for lunch / as she dances on my tongue / tastes like she might be the one / It’s a craving not a crush”.

While Billie Eilish has previously talked about being attracted to women, telling Variety “Wasn’t it obvious’? I didn’t realize people didn’t know” this is a definite lyrical coming-out, done in a wonderfully playful way.

Chihiro is about a ten-year old heroine character from manga comic Spirited Away; it’s fun and trots along happily. The following tracks will need further listening but briefly: she and brother Fiinneas as songwriter and producer duo are never less than seriously impressive, and this outing showcases an increasingly confident playfulness and openness to experimentation with textures, mishmashing styles and not having any sense that they have to try and fit any mold that might exist.

What can I say? It’s good to have Eilish back. Not only is she endlessly inventive, sounds great and wears her heart on her sleeve in the best possible way, she also wakes up the pop world while throwing down something of a gauntlet to her fellow arena-filling artists and just, you know, keeps things fun.

And the last song on the album, Blue, ends with a cheeky spoken note from Billie: “When can we hear the next one?”

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