I'm still happy we got "my future", though. I always find Billie's songs fascinating from a lyrical point of view and in the nuance of the production. I think I'm not nearly as attached to her music as some other artists I like because I find it hard to get the songs to stick in my brain. A lot of her songs are full of so much beauty, but they feel light and fragile. Because of this, when I listen to Billie, I tend to only do it with headphones sitting quietly so I can focus on all the little pieces instead of while I work or workout. It makes for a very specific listening experience and listener-artist relationship.
It took me a couple listens to really grasp the song, but once I did, I majorly connected with the lyrics. I also love the visualizer she posted to YouTube. The animated video was just as fascinating as anything they could have filmed, and I love the artistic style they chose. It was so fitting how she shifted from being in a sad, rainy forest into a pretty, bright, flowery forest where Billie gets lifted up towards, presumably, her brighter future. I hadn't considered illustrated videos outside of the lyric video variety before. Billie fully explored the concept creating the visuals like an animated movie with new scenes for each section instead of like most illustrated videos that fall in the lyric video category that tend to have looping animations. I'm curious to see if fully illustrated music videos becomes a bigger trend during COVID because of all the limits on making a video safely today.
I feel like these lyrics need to be read to be fully appreciated, in a way. The musical cues throughout- starting sad and melancholy and amping up with a fun drum beat as she starts to become optimistic- adds to the meaning significantly. But the first few times I listened, I found it way too easy to miss the point of the song.
Each verse is like it's own bit of poetry, and they feel complete in themselves. It also has a bit of an untraditional set up because there isn't a bridge and it's shorter than average, especially lyrically. It's only verse, pre, chorus, verse, pre, chorus. And the lyrics aren't the same, for the most part, in those pre/chorus sections which adds even more interest. The more I read, the more I was able to directly relate it to where I'm at in my life. I'm about to make so many major life changes in an attempt to truly figure myself out, and I deeply identify with what she's talking about, in the sense of growing out of the skin that you're in.
The first verse is probably my favorite."I can't seem to focus/And you don't notice I'm not here/I'm just a mirror/You check your complexion/To find your reflection's all alone/I had to go". I love this little piece because I feel like so often you stagnate in people's minds and become a character of what they want you to be. In everyone else's story, you're relegated to whatever your role is, and they mainly focus on the fragments of you that fit that mold. It's hard to be as fully realized to them as you actually are. It's such a beautiful way for Billie to assert that she's taking herself out of everyone else's narrative to focus on herself entirely.
Reading over the pre-chorus, my mind immediately shot back to Harry Style's first single from Fine Line, "Lights Up". That song is also unconventionally shaped and is all about moving forward and fully embracing yourself as well. There are some interesting lyric parallels. In "my future", Billie writes, "Can't you hear me?/I'm not coming home/Do you understand?/I've changed my plans" while Harry starts "Lights Up" with "What do you mean?/I'm sorry by the way/Never coming back down/Can't you see, I could but wouldn't stay". I appreciate how both songs assert that sometimes you have to make painful or bold choices focused on leaving your current situation if you want to keep growing. I'm so happy to see that phase or moment in life getting addressed more in a generally positive and encouraging way because, as liberating as it can feel, there's also a great deal of guilt that tends to come with it.
The chorus is such a triumph. The song is so optimistic, yet in a grounded way. I think we all need a bit of that reserved hope right now that's also an unabashed promise that it will get better or, at least, different. We don't know what our future has in store until we get there. Also, I'm all about how many songs centering on self love are coming out now. "Cause I, I'm in love with my future/Can't wait to meet her/And I, I'm in love/But not with anybody else/Just want to get to know myself". In a societal moment where we're all alone in some way, shape, or form, I think that's an encouraging message for anyone.
In the second verse, she introduces the past relationship that's ended and being secure in sitting with herself for a while. In a world where "Are you dating anyone?" is a Top 5 random question from strangers, especially in Hollywood, this whole verse is so liberating and affirming. She's not afraid to tell you just how fine she is on her own. "I know I'm supposed to be lonely now/Know I'm supposed to be unhappy/Without someone/But aren't I someone?" But aren't I someone. Those lyrics are major standouts from the song.
She closes the song with "I'll see you in a couple years". She's leaving where she is right now, but that doesn't mean she can't come back around once she discovers what she needs. And this is true. Both of physical places, like leaving home for college, and in relationships that don't work in the current moment but could in the future.
With a focus on personal development seemingly being the theme of quarantine, this song perfectly meets people where they're at. She also doubles down on the importance of having a good relationship with yourself above all else.
I also wanted to talk about the partnership with Spotify that Billie and her label are doing to promote the song. There are all kinds of tactics artists use to draw people to listen to their music, but this idea caught my eye and brought me some random joy. Billie invites you to write a letter to your future self through Spotify. It starts with the prompt "Dear Future Self" and gives you plenty of space to write hopes, wishes, dreams, and ideas about your future. Anything you want, really. Then you provide your email and set a date up to two years out for them to send you the email.
I know that people have been writing and reading letters to their future selves for decades, but this was a fun reminder to do that with a Gen Z twist, and they make it super easy. I wrote one with all my current hopes and dreams and then set it to come back to me on the day before my birthday of 2022. My life has changed so much in the last couple of years, I can't imagine what it'll be like when it shows up in my inbox.
The brand collab is so different and personalized to each follower that I found it more genuine, sentimental, and sweet. They succeeded in making me want to listen to the song more often. I love seeing thoughtful promotion ideas, and I'm guessing I'll listen to the song again when the email shows up in a couple years. If you want to write a letter to come back to you in a few years and share some dreams for a better future, you can find it here.
"You check your complexion/To find your reflection's all alone"
"I'm in love with my future/I can't wait to meet her"
"But aren't I someone?"
"I'll see you in a couple years"
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