Review: Billie Eilish’s ‘WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?’ is a dream come true


Photo credit: Billie Eilish promotional materials

Billie Eilish's album, "WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?" was released on March 29, 2019. "My debut album. My baby. My child. This album is the world to me,” Eilish wrote in an Instagram post caption. “Please take care of it.”

Two years since the release of her EP “dont smile at me,” Billie Eilish burst back into the music scene with “WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?”, Invisalign and all.

The album was released on March 29 and quickly claimed the number one spot on the Billboard 200 chart. Not only did it sell 170,000 copies in the first week, but the album became the largest selling vinyl in 2019 with 15,000 vinyls sold. If breaking records left and right isn’t enough, the music itself is a brand-new sound.

The first track, “!!!!!!!,” (yes, the title is just seven exclamation points) is simply the sound of Eilish taking her Invisalign out. The ninth track, “my strange addiction,” samples audio from The Office, and the thirteenth track, “i love you,” includes audio of an airplane safety demo. Plenty of artists play around with new sounds, but it’s as if Eilish has created a new genre entirely: the Billie Eilish genre.

While the sound of Eilish removing her Invisalign in “!!!!!!!” is not the most satisfying sound, it was impossible to not listen to the album after hearing that.

When I listened to the album for the first time, the third track, “xanny,” immediately caught my eye. I was afraid that “xanny,” which is a nickname for the drug Xanax, would romanticize drug culture, but it did exactly the opposite.

Eilish attacks the use of the drug, singing, “I don’t need a xanny to feel better,” and “don’t give me a xanny now or ever.” In one song, Eilish was able to bring awareness of the negative effects of drugs to her 22.6 million Instagram followers through her lyrics. She comments that those who take Xanax are “bad at learning,” and “make the same mistakes, blame circumstance.”

When asked about the meaning of the song in an interview with The Guardian, Eilish simply and heartbreakingly said: “I don’t want my friends to die anymore.”

The fifth track on the album, “all the good girls go to hell,” immediately drew me in with an addicting beat and rhythm. It’s the kind of song that makes you want to tap your feet or sway; it is impossible to not become entirely entranced by it. Eilish uses a rap-like tone, which perfectly compliments the bass in the tune. While Eilish has a beautiful and tender voice, it’s nice to hear another side of her vocal skills.

The song “8,” which happens to also be the eighth track on the album, is one of my personal favorites and one of the most clever songs I have ever heard. The song alternates between Eilish singing in a higher, childlike tone and her normal lower voice. The difference in Eilish’s register makes the song instantly captivating, but the lyrics are equally as intriguing.

Hard-hitting lyrics such as, “I never really know how to please you / You’re looking at me like I’m see-through / I guess I’m gonna go / I just never know how you feel / Do you even feel anything?” contrast with a series of “da-da-da-da-da-da.” The juxtaposition of incredibly personal lyrics and nonsense sounds complemented with two different tones is simply genius songwriting and producing. Eilish has mastered the art of getting her listeners to feel.

While the first songs on the album are powerful and portray Eilish with a tough persona, such as the track “bad guy,” Eilish is completely vulnerable by the end of the album. The second-to-last track, “listen before I go,” is honest and raw in a way that is rarely seen in mainstream music these days. Eilish sings “I’m not okay, I feel so scattered / Don’t say I’m all that matters / Leave me, déjà vu.” It is because of songs like this that I fell so in love with “WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?” Eilish is not afraid to reveal her inner demons; in fact, she makes art out of them.

While the album is certainly an incredible collection of music, some tracks are a little overwhelming. Songs like “bad guy” and “you should see me in a crown” can be jarring to listen to over and over due to the immense amount of technological effects such as high pitched noises and vocal manipulation. However, these effects in no way detract from the overall incredible nature of the album.

Eilish completes the album with the track “goodbye,” which is a clever patchwork of lyrics from other songs in the album. The song includes lyrics from “bad guy,” “xanny,” “all the good girls go to hell” and “my strange addiction.” The layers of harmony and haunting melody truly provide a “goodbye” to the album.

If anything is certain, it is that Billie Eilish is the future of music. At 17, Eilish is already proving to be one of the most talented artists of her generation. Her innovative sound and honest lyrics bring disruption that the radio desperately needs.

  • Originality
  • Lyrics
  • Technical Quality
  • Enjoyment
  • Impact


Billie Eilish’s “WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?” features 14 tracks that showcase Eilish’s versatility and artistic talent. The album is Eilish’s first, and it doesn’t disappoint. From tough songs with addicting beats to slow lyrical masterpieces, “WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?” is truly a testament to Eilish’s unique voice and style.