Billie Eilish is doing pretty okay, all things considered.
This whole pandemic thing, and the general sense that the fabric of society is just barely hanging on by a thread through, like, Zoom calls? Not great! But instead of (justifiably) succumbing to the immense weight of depression and anxiety that comes with merely being alive in 2020, the 18-year-old Grammy Award-winner is holding onto hope instead – which, with any luck, will inspire plenty of her fans to feel the same way.
To be fair, Billie was in a much different mood at the end of 2019 as captured in her introspective reflection, “everything i wanted,” a post-stardom reflection which was as beautiful as it was unbelievably bleak. But now, with the world in much worse shape than when we last heard from her (Bond theme aside), the “when the party’s over” singer has unexpectedly rose to the occasion with some optimism in the form of “my future,” released on Thursday (July 30).
Co-written with her brother FINNEAS as always, the song finds our young Gen Z icon-in-the-making now dealing with being alone – truly alone – for the first time in a very long time. No team, no management, no arenas full of screaming fans, no boyfriend, nada. Just the silence of this time of social distancing and her thoughts.
“I spent years and years relying on having someone. And as soon as I didn’t have someone, I got somebody else. And I’m not talking about relationships. I’m talking about everything…I could never be alone. I couldn’t take my own company for so long…I needed a moment to myself, and I got it. And it was really hard. It’s really, it’s so much harder than you think, to not rely on people, to just have yourself to rely on,” she explained to Zane Lowe on Apple Music.
The song is very characteristically Billie – at least, at first – as her whisper-soft, ASMR YouTube-friendly voice gently drifts and quivers along dream-like production, drawing us inward with an alluring, almost love-drunk coo. And then halfway in comes the sonic switch-up: an uptempo kick of funky bass, as Billie herself sounds just as surprised to discover a little lightness.
“I know supposedly I’m lonely now, know I’m supposed to be unhappy without someone / But aren’t I someone?” she realizes, finding herself enveloped in a jazzy jam session. And by the end of the song, after thoroughly mulling it over on her own and ditching the dead weight, Billie is riding solo and utterly swooning for the idea of embracing her own unknown.
“I, I’m in love with my future / And you don’t know her / And I, I’m in love, but not with anybody here / I’ll see you in a couple years.”
That last line especially hits when presented amid a global health crisis, with the promise of “normalcy” no longer in the forecast for, well, uh…”a couple years” sounds about right.
“As much ‘my future’ is a song about personal growth and being content, it’s now, more than ever, I listen to it; I’m like, ‘Wow, this is actually is super relevant to right now’…it’s crazy when you can get to a point in life where hope itself feels hopeless. It feels hopeless to hope for stuff. Should you even be wishing? Should you even be hopeful? It’s like, is it even worth it? That’s insane, but that’s where we are at this point. We can’t…we need the music. We need the hope,” Billie urged during the interview.
Take it from Billie, and hold on to that hope as well: because if the future is as lovely as it sounds in Billie’s head, we’re going to want to meet her too.
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Photo credit: Interscope Records