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How Billie Eilish Reclaims Her Power On Happier Than Ever

How Billie Eilish Reclaims Her Power On Happier Than Ever

Think of the most powerful, moving Billie Eilish song you know. There’s a pretty good chance that it comes from her Happier Than Ever album! Happier Than Ever saw Billie moving past all sorts of toxicity and negative situations in her life in favor of putting herself first and prioritizing her growth.

I went through some crazy sh*t, and it really affected me and made me not want to go near anyone ever.

Billie Eilish to Rolling Stone

Whether you’re just rooting for Billie, or you wanna go on a growth journey of your own, Happier Than Ever is the ultimate exploration of strength, hope, and perseverance. Let’s take a look at exactly how Billie made that storyline clear on this awe-inspiring album!

Image Source: @billsbillsbills on Tumblr

‘Getting Older’

On opening track ‘Getting Older,’ Billie gears up to be more honest than ever and reflects on her own behaviors that she’d like to change. With blunt confessions of “last week, I realized I craved pity” and accepting the past with a quick “wasn’t my decision to be abused,” she’s ready to dive into some deeper character analysis and really dig into the recovery process. You go, Billie!

I had to take a break in the middle of writing that one, and I wanted to cry, because it was so revealing. And it’s just the truth.

Billie Eilish to Rolling Stone

‘I Didn’t Change My Number’

With the R&B-influenced ‘I Didn’t Change My Number,’ Billie asserts boundaries and learns to respect her energy and space more than ever. By not changing her number, but changing who she answers, she doesn’t have to compromise too much in her daily life and she can simply adjust her habits instead of going through too much trouble for someone she no longer wants in her life.

‘I Didn’t Change My Number’… I love this song so much. It’s all about ‘you can’t get me anymore’ where it’s like you know what? I don’t have sympathy for you anymore y’know? You got me! You got me at first but I don’t care now. And it’s really that and that only. And kinda just your last straw and being like ‘I am confident in this being my last straw.’ Y’know, don’t get me mad cause I will scream.

Billie Eilish to Spotify

‘Billie Bossa Nova’

While it’s framed as an ode to a secret romance, ‘Billie Bossa Nova’ is one of several songs on Happier Than Ever that see Billie reclaiming her power against the media and public speculating about her life. “Some information’s not for sharing, use different names at hotel check-ins” makes it sound like a rendezvous is taking place at different hotels, but it could just as easily be Billie’s way of striking back at anyone who tracks her whereabouts or tries to disrespect her privacy.

We have to do a lot of goofy bullshit when we go on tour, where we enter through freight elevators in hotels and stuff, so that paparazzi doesn’t follow us to our room. And so we acted as if there was also a secret love affair going on in there of Billie being like, ‘Nobody saw me in the lobby, nobody saw me in your arms,’ as if there was a mystery person in her life during all of that.

FINNEAS to Rolling Stone

‘my future’

With ‘my future,’ Billie learns to show love and hope for her own life and not just her life with someone else, paving her own way to a fierce-yet-mellow sense of independence. Lyrics like “do you understand? I’ve changed my plans” and “know I’m supposed to be unhappy without someone, but aren’t I someone?” explore her headspace while also prompting the listener to reevaluate their own views of being alone versus leaning on someone else.

I spent years and years relying on having someone — I could never be alone. It’s not something you’d think about being hard. But when you’re in that alone zone, it’s a new feeling. I feel like people… everything is about love. There’s nothing that talks about how being alone is really powerful.

Billie Eilish to Apple Music

‘Oxytocin’

One of the most alluring moments on Happier Than Ever is the captivating ‘Oxytocin,’ which many believe comes from the perspective of an abuser treating their victim like prey. The sultry themes of the song (“I wanna do bad things to you, don’t wanna treat you well”) seem to mirror how some abusers veil their actions and true intentions behind false claims of “love” and performative displays of affection.

Other key lyrics that back up this theory are “as long as you’re still breathing, don’t you even think of leaving,” an outward threat, and the chorus: “you should really run away, other people wouldn’t stay, other people don’t obey, you and me are both the same, you should really run away.” The chorus goes back and forth between warning the victim and trying to evoke a sense of sympathy within them while the abuser points out that no one else has stayed by their side. Billie making an entire song tying in references to abusive attitudes and behaviors shows a sense of growth as she learns to pick up on what red flags to look out for.

‘GOLDWING’

With the mystical ‘GOLDWING,’ Billie shows love for young women in the entertainment industry who will be cruelly subjected to so much hate and negativity in their careers – you could even argue that she’s talking to her past self. “You’re sacred and they’re starved, and their art is getting dark, and there you are to tear apart,” she warns. In a way, it feels like she’s going back in time to let When We All Fall Asleep-era Billie know to push through all the noise and focus on what matters most to her: her art and her fans.

‘GOLDWING’ is kind of a metaphor for you know, a young woman especially in the industry or in life that is non-traumatized and kind of non-exploited person. Using a metaphor for that being you know, a gold winged angel. I feel this like crazy amount of protection for new artists and especially young women artists and this song is kind of about that. It’s really from the perspective of somebody talking to this person. So it’s really just a metaphor for that.

Billie Eilish in Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter To Los Angeles

‘Lost Cause’

Plenty of songs on Happier Than Ever face negative energy with a discerning, skeptical eye, but ‘Lost Cause’ offers a more playful approach as Billie shrugs off a toxic person as a lost cause and refuses to sink to their level. It reminds us of the lyric from ‘I Didn’t Change My Number’ about losing sympathy for someone you used to put on a pedestal… intentional? We think so!

‘Halley’s Comet’

‘Halley’s Comet’ is one of the softer moments on the album, and we think that contrast was definitely intentional. It’s almost wistfully romantic – after so many heavier songs addressing unhealthy situations Billie has gone through, it feels like its perspective comes from an early moment in one of those very situations, or even just a hard moment while she was healing from it. “I don’t want it, and I don’t want to want you,” she croons in a way that’s just as heartbreaking as the push-and-pull of her 2019 ballad ‘i love you.’

You probably didn’t expect us to include this song while talking about power, did you? We think this song is a pretty crucial moment in that journey, though. It acknowledges that sometimes things aren’t so easy, and it’s okay to miss someone who hurt you sometimes, as long as you pick yourself back up after.

‘Not My Responsibility’

Originally written as a tour interlude to play between songs, ‘Not My Responsibility’ is a thoughtful look at how online commentary and beauty standards can affect women’s body image. Billie refuses to succumb to what internet echo chambers might say about her looks, showing love for herself and standing up for others in the process.

We also noticed an interesting connection to another Happier Than Ever song: “I feel you watching always, and nothing I do goes unseen” offers a stark contrast to the themes on ‘Billie Bossa Nova,’ where she creates a passionate relationship while avoiding the public eye. We could write another essay about how this album uses privacy and the lack thereof to describe Billie’s feelings about holding power in her life, but we don’t wanna keep you here all day.

‘OverHeated’

‘OverHeated’ is a Part 2 of sorts to ‘Not My Responsibility,’ repurposing the instrumental while Billie examines her relationship with the internet and social media. She notes how people watch her figure like a hawk and treat her body as a news spectacle rather than what it is: her body. She won’t let those people control her view of herself, and she wants to help break the cycle so others won’t have to deal with something similar.

We took the production from ‘Not My Responsibility’ and turned it into a beat and then wrote ‘OverHeated’ and it’s really just about the same thing. Why the f*ck is it such a shock that I look like all of you? I think that’s the funny thing. The internet, you know, you feel so powerful and somehow invisible at the same time but everybody sees it. You say crazy stuff on the internet thinking ‘Ah, nobody will see it.’ It’s really just about the insanity of paparazzi and articles, and comment sections, and Twitter!

Billie Eilish to Spotify

‘Your Power’

One of the rawest songs on Happier Than Ever, the mellow ‘Your Power’ calls out someone (or multiple people) who mistreated Billie as she processes what happened and learns to stand up for herself. Biting lyrics like “will you only feel bad when they find out?” and “does it keep you in control, for you to keep her in a cage?” will make your stomach drop while also cheering her on for recognizing her worth and moving forward.

this is one of my favorite songs i’ve ever written. i feel very vulnerable putting this one out because i hold it so close to my heart. this is about many different situations that we’ve all either witnessed or experienced. i hope this can inspire change. try not to abuse your power.

See Also

Billie Eilish on Instagram

‘NDA’

Like ‘Billie Bossa Nova,’ the alluring ‘NDA’ touches on the struggles of romance in the spotlight and how Billie has to keep some aspects of her life away from the public eye to ensure her privacy. She mentions making a boy she liked sign an NDA after spending time with her, her experiences with stalkers, and much more in a culmination of her years of fame that makes the dark side of celebrity more apparent without feeling too heavy.

‘NDA’ is kinda all over the map. It’s got a lotta different things going on that were completely different situations. It was really just things I was thinking and feeling and doing in my life and I was like, ‘I’ll just write about it.’ I don’t know, I think it’s very cool. ‘NDA’ is very all over the place and up for interpretation.”

Billie Eilish to Spotify

Another thing we love about this song is the outro, which can be seen as a callout to someone who mistreats you or as a recap of Billie’s experience as such a vulnerable artist in the spotlight: “Did I take it too far? Now I know what you are / You hit me so hard I saw stars / Think I took it too far / When I sold you my heart / How’d it get so dark? I saw stars.”

You know what I love about that part is that, even I, who wrote it, and Finneas who wrote it, that little ending… like, I have, like, eight different meanings for that, and that’s what I love about it. When I hear it, each time I hear it, I think of a different thing, I think of a different perspective, a different, like… I’m- am I saying it to this in this way? Am I saying it this way? I love that, it makes me feel very fulfilled… Did I let too many, you know, eyes into my brain?

Billie Eilish to Apple Music

‘Therefore I Am’

Much like she did earlier on ‘I Didn’t Change My Number,’ ‘Therefore I Am’ lets Billie set boundaries when it comes to her fame and who she lets in her circle. “Get my pretty name out of your mouth,” she insists while knowing her worth and that it doesn’t matter what someone she doesn’t need in her life thinks of her. She even spells it out for them: “I’m not your friend, or anything, damn.”

‘Happier Than Ever’

On the album’s title track, Billie picks up on some of the unhealthy behaviors a past lover directed at her, piecing together different moments where she deserved better before it culminates in the ultimate moment of catharsis: “just f*cking leave me alone.” After just a listen or two, it becomes astoundingly clear why ‘Happier Than Ever’ is the most-streamed song from the project, seeing a young woman really coming into her own and recognizing that there are bigger and better things in life waiting for her.

The whole song is more, like, nothing even specific that they did, you’re just not happy being with them. Can’t even explain it. Like say, like you can’t, I can’t explain it.

Billie Eilish in The World’s A Little Blurry

‘Male Fantasy’

Billie devastatingly admits on the album closer, “I know I should, but I could never hate you.” After the high-octane anthem that is ‘Happier Than Ever,’ you might assume she’d be rising from the ashes of who she was during such a tumultuous time in her life, but on ‘Male Fantasy,’ she reminds us that “goodbye” doesn’t always mark the end of someone’s impact on us. It bookends a project all about stepping into your own and finding your own power with a message that sometimes it isn’t so easy, comforting those who haven’t been able to throw away what’s hurt them quite yet.

‘Male Fantasy’ is really a hopeless realization and a horrible thing. It’s terrible to feel something that you don’t want to feel. ‘Happier Than Ever’ was actually gonna close the album and then we wrote ‘Male Fantasy’ and it actually felt better to close it with that. Not ending on a angry note, I think, was important ‘cause nothing should end on a bad note, I feel like.

Billie Eilish to Spotify

Happier Than Ever

We’re so proud of Billie for all the processing and moving forward she does on the Happier Than Ever album! This record has helped so many fans realize their own shining worth and the fact that they deserve only the best. You deserve all the power over your own life, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

What are your favorite tracks from Happier Than Ever? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! And for more Billie Eilish content, click here.

Image Source: @planet-her on Tumblr

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