Reviewed by Ian Phillips.
By Billie Eilish, Universal Music 2020.
I’ve been a fan of Billie Eilish (full name Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell) since the release of her first studio album, When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Back pre-covid in 2019.
That album debuted at number 1 in the Billboard Top 200 and became one of the biggest selling albums for the year.
It also produced a string of charting singles with the fifth release, Bad Guy, reaching #1 on the Billboard Top 100.
I always equate her rise with that of Tones And I who also debuted in the same year. They’ve got something special about them.
Both of them seemed to emerge fully formed from nowhere to become world beaters but we know that there’s generally a back story of years of hard work behind overnight sensations.
Tones And I spent years busking in Melbourne before Dance Monkey took off and in Billie’s case her training as a songwriter and musician started when she was a young child (along with her elder brother and collaborator, Finneas.
Eilish’s first single release was way back in 2015 but it was her debut album that made the industry sit up and take notice.
Therefore I Am follows on from her James Bond theme No Time To Die, released in February (which reached #1 in the UK) and My Future (released in July) to be issued so far this year and apparently she’s been busy writing for her next album throughout the pandemic.
Therefore I Am follows her formula of combining pop with hip-hop, layered over a bed of hypnotic beats, and always with catchy choruses.
The O’Connell siblings are a great songwriting team. Eilish’s interesting vocals and quirky subject matter find their musical equivalence in Finneas’ electro pop and intricate arrangements.
The new album should be out early next year and if this single is anything to go by it could be something special.