Review Summary: This album has riled a lot of people up and caused Internet flame wars, which is somewhat ironic considering how sleepy, toothless, and underwhelming WWAFAWDWG is.
Billie Ellish - When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? - 2/5 (3 or 4/10)
I know for a fact that I am not the only person who strongly dislikes this album. However, a good chunk of the hate train on this album consists of two arguments: “Billie Eilish is the death of music”, and “Billie Eilish is industry plant garbage”. Both are pretentious whining from man-babies who hate Billie Eilish and want her to fail. For the record, I have no claims against Billie. I thought Ocean Eyes was incredibly well made for a teenager bedroom pop song. But this record is just so....boring. Billie stans who grasp at straws to gloss over this album’s deep faults make me laugh just as much as the neckbeards who think Billie is the musical antichrist for being a “corporate plant” (even if she is, who fucking cares) and/or whispering (whispering is fine, shut the fuck up you’re a little kid who probably thinks louder music = better music). There’s nothing inherently wrong with Billie’s choice to whisper and mumble on most the album, but the disjointed production from Billie’s brother Phinneas, completely drowns out the low energy vocals most of the time. Eilish puts herself in a corner by sticking with this sound throughout the entire album, giving us an underwhelming, repetitive, and hard-to-hear effort that sounds more like ASMR than actual music.
I get that a good chunk of radio-quality, hot topic alt-pop is not going to be lyrically three dimensional in any way, but I would have loved to see Billie do something more than “I’m a bad bitch and I hate society”. Take this masterpiece of a chorus from “i wish you were gay” (the title sounds like a b side from a Pink Guy album or something Morrissey would tweet)
“I just wanna make you feel okay,
but all you do is look the other way,
I can’t tell you how much I didn’t wanna stay,
I just kinda wish you were gay,
I just wish you were gay”.
I can not believe people find this shit ground breaking or “sleek” as pitchfork describes it (pitchfork is a fucking nightmare but that’s a different conversation). You could easily argue Billie Eilish is using some fake gay woke shit to try and get a pass on how booty cheeks this song is. This reminds me of those straight white chicks who go to the gay bar and pretend to be lesbian to get free drinks. When BROCKHAMPTON dropped Saturation I it made me realize that edgy young adult music can have in depth and thought provoking lyrics, so why do people think this is anything more than a mediocre and quarter-cooked attempt at lyricism I have no idea. Another example is in “xanny”, where the entire song is just Billie talking about she doesn’t want to do drugs (respectable, but incredibly vanilla). Here’s an example (mind you this is a good 70% of the song’s lyrics right here)
I'm in their second hand smoke
Still just drinking canned coke
I don't need a xanny to feel better
On designated drives home
Only one who's not stoned
Don't give me a xanny now or ever
Please don't try to kiss me on the sidewalk
On your cigarette break
I can't afford to love someone
Who isn't dying by mistake in Silver Lake
I’d rather do xans than hear this rubbish again. If I wanted to listen to a sobriety anthem I’d listen to anything by Minor Threat. When I clicked on the genius page to try and confirm that I, in fact, heard these lyrics correctly, I saw an article where Billie called herself the next Tyler the Creator. I think it’s really funny how Billie likes to compare herself to Tyler when they are light years apart in charisma, lyrical ability, production, talent, and race. Tyler uses his albums to tell complex, thought provoking, and captivating stories, while Billie can barely fit in a run on sentence in When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?. Tyler was in loiters squad, Billie thinks loitering is a crime.
I can’t shit on Billie or this album too hard. It’s not as offensive or comically bad as The Big Day or G-Easy’s new release Everything’s Strange Here (imagine Supermarket but somehow worse. There’s no point in me even reviewing it just listen to it yourself). I think Billie actually has a nice voice and she doesn’t try to strain or go out her element. There’s some good creative direction here, that if tweaked around, could result in some of these songs being catchy, or at the very least being not completely forgettable. There are a few flashes in the pan here like the ambience and knive-scraping sound effects in “you should see me in a crown” (before the beat drops into a bootleg Charli XCX techno-fuckfest). Billie has some nice vocal harmonies in “bad guy” as well. This is Billie Eilish’s debut record after all, and she’s still very young, so I’m going to cut her some slack.
Overall, this album is so dull and uncreative it reminds of me of the insults sinternet writes in my comments section. This album is moderately shit and lacks any sort of adventure or charisma, but Billie has potential to develop into a solid artist down the line. This is based and a fact even though all music is subjective 3/10.