Billie Eilish redefines pop as artist of the year

By CHRIS BARILLA
On December 4, 2019

Photo courtesy of crommelincklars, Flickr

Although it may seem that Billie Eilish’s fame happened almost overnight, her meteoric rise to one of the most recognized names in pop music today began many years back. With a solid work ethic and consistent output since she was only 13, Eilish was poised to take over the world, culminating in her being recognized as the artist of the year, and with due reason.  

Although pop is the general term to define the young star’s output, she has proven time and time again that she can redefine genre constraints and make some seriously interesting and catchy music.

On top of making such ridiculously popular songs as “Ocean Eyes” and “you should see me in a crown,” Eilish’s real power is in her personality, specifically how she relates to her legions of young fans that purchase her off-kilter merchandise, fill her concerts and are truly moved by the ideologies the young songstress proposes.  

The music is truly good though, being a reinterpretation of the classic pop method, but interjected with dark twists, nightmare-like concepts and a dreamy energy that transports listeners into Eilish’s world. That world is one she is particularly meticulous in crafting, consistently exhibiting a wholly unique personal style that pulls influences from Japanese anime, streetwear and rave dress.

Eilish even went as far as creating an exhibit for her latest album, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” in which each room was designed to showcase exactly what went through the artist’s head when she was working on the album.

This level of detail, commitment, and endearment to her fans is why Eilish’s name has been a constant chart-topper for over a year and why she seemingly will not falter from that any time soon.

Of course, it is difficult to mention Eilish without mentioning the Lennon to her McCartney, her brother Finneas O’Connell. The older sibling of the mega-famous star is responsible for a lot of the background work on her music. A key contributor on writing, producing and general idea development, the siblings are a team that rely on each other's unique approaches to create the projects that make it to fans.  

From the humble beginnings of SoundCloud buzz to headlining blockbuster festivals, such as Lollapalooza, Eilish has carved out her own corner in the modern music landscape and effectively made her unique and hypnotizing singing style a hot commodity amongst the industry.

She is the first artist born in the 21st century to be included in the Billboard 200, and the record holder for the most songs from a project to chart on the Billboard Top 100. Twelve out of 13 songs off of “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” were listed on the prestigious ranked board, cementing her legacy not just for the current state of music, but in the annals of its history.  

Her successful image is one opposite that of most widely recognized pop stars in music. She dresses in overly baggy clothes to combat the idea of oversexualization, discusses dark concepts in her music and claims such an affinity for hip-hop that she even cites 21 Savage as an influence.

Eilish defines the “anti” pop star, and her rebellious image has empowered young girls across the planet to express themselves further and etch out their own places in society.  

 

cbarilla@ramapo.edu

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