Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish Shows her Growth in ‘HIT ME HARD AND SOFT’ (Review)

Billie Eilish released her third studio album and is in her most reflective songwriting time yet. Collaborating again with her longtime songwriting partner, producer, and brother FINNEAS, this is their most ambitious and artistic project yet. The LP is brief and intimate; every song feels important and meant to be in the album. In an era of music where most artists are expanding their projects and releasing several versions of Deluxe Editions, getting a record with intention and purpose is refreshing. She presents a finished piece with no add-ons or expansions.

Both the songwriting and production feel more mature. Therefore, the songwriting explores adult themes and moves further away from the teenage angst of her debut album, ‘WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?‘. She feels more confident in her words and angry at the false portrayal the world is trying to project onto her. The production has evolved to a point where the experimentation is still present but feels more intentional. Keeping the elements stripped back but hitting with otherworldly sound design. For example, the synthesizer in the ethereal ‘CHIHIRO‘. Nonetheless, Billie and FINNEAS still play to their strengths. As a result, the vocal layering and rhythm style, characteristic of their collaborations, is still very present.

Kicking things off with the brutally honest, ‘SKINNY‘, she shows some of her experiences as one of the famous artists of our time. Billie is always under the microscope, judged about her looks and how she acts. It’s also an homage to the person this artist is now and who she used to be. They show love to both versions equally despite what others might say. 

She explores her feelings of queerness in the catchy second track, ‘LUNCH‘, and of finding her own identity. The song still captures the entertaining, playful style that Eilish has been famous for since ‘bad guy‘. The track is a celebration of finding oneself. It portrays the journey of self-discovery and acceptance with fun and honest feelings of attraction. 

The album explores themes of longing and heartbreak in songs like ‘BIRDS OF A FEATHER‘, ‘WILDFLOWER‘, and ‘L’AMOUR DE MA VIE‘. The production gives each one its own identity, which in turn shows the spectrum of feelings one experiences in heartbreak.

CHIHIRO‘ is inspired by the movie ‘Spirited Away‘, and the main character Chihiro. It’s a combination of Chihiro’s perspective combined with Billie’s. The song feels as ethereal and surreal as the movie, and the production achieves a sense of uneasiness and hope that reflects the film’s inspiration.

Finally, ‘HIT ME HARD AND SOFT‘ is a record that shows the maturity of Billie and FINNEAS as artists and shows their potential to evolve artistically. Even though it is still a heartbreak album, it also portrays her growth as a person and artist. She reflects on how others have tried to project their views on her. Then she discards some of the uncertainty in herself by exchanging it with outrage. The production feels fresh and experimental, while also playing to both sibling’s strengths. This was an emotional and sonic journey that I would encourage people to take from start to finish.

Rating: 8/10

Billie Eilish is on InstagramX, and TikTok. Find more reviews here and stream the album below.

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