Billie Eilish's Brand New Single "Therefore I Am" and Music Video Review

 

Yesterday, at 10 AM PST Billie Eilish released her third new single (excluding the Bond song "No Time To Die") following up her Grammy winning debut album, When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go. This third track is more sonically similar to When We All Fall Asleep than either of her previous singles. The song also brought a music video following Billie around the Glendale Galleria after hours. 

As far as credit goes, Billie and Finneas are the two writers on the track, Finneas produced, and Billie directed the music video. The track and cadence of the song gives me "My Strange Addiction" vibes. The track has a great rolling beat that you can't help but bop your head to. Most of the track is drum based and has so many fascinating rhythmic layers to it. I also love the backing vocals Finneas provides, particularly in the bridge. He drags a darker tone into the mix of the song, and I liked that I could actually pull his voice out on its own. Billie really shines in the darker, more beat heavy, intricately produced songs. "My Future" and "Everything I Wanted" are more experimental on form and have a vintage sound departing from the darker, more detailed sound of When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go. Both of the earlier singles are brighter, floatier, and show more of a range in her vocals (along with "No Time To Die"). She sounds more at home here, and the lyrics are shining. It is impossible not to groove to this track, and I love the laughs, talking bits, and other sounds that are thrown into the song, along with the stops and starts to keep it consistently interesting. The listener stays on their toes. This track has gotten a major outpouring of love on Twitter as well. 

"Therefore I Am" even has the best title of the bunch, and the cover art is super pretty. I love that she pulls from the English translation of a quote in Latin, "I doubt therefore I think, I think therefore I am". The lyrics focus on her agency as a person and an artist in the face of the media trying to write her narrative for her.

The song opens with one loop of the chorus to offer a taste of what's to come. It's a good trick for this song considering the chorus is so hooky. I'm still singing it to myself today. This song seems to be taking on the tabloids, the media, and most of all, the annoying people on Twitter who think they have Billie figured out. In the first verse she sings, "Stop, what the hell are you talking about? Ha/Get my pretty name out of your mouth" which is the perfect opening lines to address the situation and knock them all down at the same time. It's a bit ridiculous that the song seems incredibly timely in light of horrible body shaming by trolls against her in recent weeks, but the song must have been inspired by similar events months back. Why are people so intent on tearing down a teenager? "We are not the same with or without/Don't talk 'bout me like you might know how I feel/Top of the world, but your world isn't real/Your world's an ideal". I like that Billie's using this song to remind the world that they don't know her, they don't know how she feels, and they are not entitled to an opinion on Billie the person or some kind of moral judgement based on her appearances or fashion style. I like how she addresses the fact that fame and the world people construct around it creates an ideal more than a reality. You don't become superhuman when your follower count soars. Famous people aren't perfect, and there's a toxic expectation that they should be. Artists like Billie are far more compelling than those who try to squeeze themselves into impossible molds, and I'm glad she's already able to recognize that. 

In the prechorus, she doubles down on very much not caring for anyone's input. "So go have fun/I really couldn't care less/And you can give I'm my best, but just know". Then she dives into the chorus which builds on this, "I'm not your friend or anything/Damn, you think that you're the man/I think therefore I am". This loops twice to build her point. I think this makes for a hilarious and generally relatable chorus that's also easy to jump into. I like that this whole song is aimed at an invisible adversary instead of trying to take on the whole world at once. 

In the second verse, the view seems to shift away from internet trolls and towards another unfortunate aspect of fame- everyone wanting into her relationship. While I have no clue what person or suggestion she's referring to, these lines are my favorite in the song. I like her asserting that she wants to be her own person completely and doesn't want her private life involved in her celebrity. "I don’t want press to put your name next to mine/We’re on different lines, so I/Wanna be nice enough, they don’t call my bluff/‘Cause I hate to find/Articles, articles, articles/I’d rather you remain unremarkable/(Got a lotta) Interviews, interviews, interviews/When they say your name, I just act confused". The last two lines are my favorite part because we finally get some action. Rhyming "unremarkable" and "articles" works extremely well along with "interviews" and "confused". Also, I love the admission that she's completely played off interviewers pretending to not know what they're talking about. You can just picture the way Billie would brush off the question with a laugh and sarcastic remark. For only being 18 and relatively new to fame, she has one of the most mature outlooks on dating in the public eye that I've seen, and for how high profile she is, it's pretty remarkable how low profile she's been able to keep her dating life. 

Overall, I enjoyed the song. It seems to have a good bandwidth for repeat listens, and it makes me excited to hear the rest of the album (if this is for another album?). 

Jumping into the music video, I think it's one of my new favorite Billie videos. It's shockingly fun and not dark at all, which makes it a definite outlier. It's a COVID style 2020 video, featuring every video, but I think there's a fun in that. It opens with Billie running through the Glendale Galleria passing a Justice on her way through the upper level. I really wanted her to go into the store for a whole preteen flashback, but she ran right past it. The mall looked suspiciously similar to the one that I grew up going to in Houston, and when I asked my mom, I found out there are companies that make basically the same mall all over the country. That was an interesting random bit of trivia I wasn't aware of. I guess I've never thought much about malls. They seem much more fun completely empty. 
Billie looks great in the video. Her hair feels just slightly different to me here, and I really like it (though I could be totally making that up in my head). I also love her oversized cardigan, and I'd like one too. As she makes her way through the mall, she steals a pretzel from Auntie Anne's. Everyone watching it with me agreed that we were super jealous that she could just jump behind the counter and grab one. She never actually takes a bite of it, but it's fun. After taking the elevator down, she grabs a donut from a generic coffee place (and she does enjoy that). Then she sprints to the food court and grabs a lemonade, Chipotle chips, and some fries. It's amazing she's able to balance all of the food in her arms at once. She looks like she's having an absolute blast, and it fits the irreverent vibe of the song extremely well. She doesn't care what anyone thinks, and she'll steal an armful of treats from the food court if she wants to. I'm glad Billie is at a point with the world's opinions where she can truly laugh it off and continue having a great time, and this video exemplifies that. She runs out of the mall when the security guy finally catches up with her, and she makes a break for the parking garage. At the end, Billie gets her director credit, and it makes me so happy to see. I love that Billie directs so many of her videos. My only complaint about the video is that the camera work is super shaky (which seems intentional to add to the dash through the mall vibes). It's fun at times, but it sometimes makes me feel a bit ill. Also, I wonder which of the stores were incidentally there and what was product placement. The thought didn't super cross my mind till they focused on Chipotle, and it felt a bit like the moment that Beats headphones get flashed in half the videos out there. I have no problem with it, I'm just curious. 

Overall, I'm glad Billie is addressing the world head on with an entirely disaffected attitude. It feels completely genuine, and it has fun in its more experimental details. I think Billie did a great job with the visuals, and Finneas scored another win with the production. Check out the video below and the Spotify links to listen to the song and watch the video.





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