Often described by Billie and Finneas as an album imagined and created with the idea of not being heard by anyone other than them, Billie Eilish’s third studio album HIT ME HARD AND SOFT feels lightyears ahead in both lyricism, themes and maturity. Although Billie’s signature sound and melodies still exist, this album is an evolution in her vision and craft, exploring other genres and parts of her identity more than ever before.

Billie’s sophomore album Happier Than Ever was the aftermath and reflections of a teenage girl dominating the music landscape. While some considered her not ‘womanly’ enough, they also expected her to be a specific way which wasn’t authentic and left her questioning not only others but also herself. She expressed these sentiments to Variety last November, stating: “Being a woman is just such a war, forever. Especially being a young woman in the public eye. It’s really unfair.” ‘What Was I Made For?’, Billie’s groundbreaking song for Greta Gerwig’s 2023 movie Barbie, saw both her and Finneas add 1 more Academy Award to their previous No Time To Die win – plus another Golden Globe and 2 Grammys. Although Billie has been a pop icon since her 2017 debut EP don’t smile at me, her rapid fame and exposure came with unwarranted opinions and expectations; ones that someone who is currently only 22 shouldn’t have to be forced into confronting.

As Billie has spent the past few years dealing with painful situations, including a public relationship and its break-up, embracing her sexuality, and navigating where she fits within the world as a ‘popstar’, she and Finneas have created a body of work which not only speaks to these experiences, but also defies all expectations. Pained, cinematic, and drenched in genre-blending, HIT ME HARD AND SOFT does everything different. Billie even released no songs pre-release as she wanted the album digested in one go so it couldn’t be taken out of context. The only exception for snippets included Billie debuting a few songs live at a surprise party during Coachella Weekend 1; although, only after she came onstage during Lana Del Rey’s headlining set and sang a duet of both ‘Video Games’ and ‘ocean eyes’. Del Rey proclaimed that Billie is “the voice of our generation; of your generation,” –  a moment which sent their fanbases into an absolute frenzy. Although the album is only 10 songs long, some of Billie’s longest track times are on here, with ‘BLUE’ reaching nearly 6 minutes. Although the album has less songs in comparison to her previous two, it’s her most cohesive body of work, and she doesn’t shy away from longer tracks which have time to build, breathe and unravel. Early stats show the immediate impact of the album, as it debuted with just shy of 73 million streams on Spotify alone within its first day of release.



Thematically opening in the same vein as ‘What Was I Made For?’, HIT ME HARD AND SOFT begins with ‘SKINNY’, an aching minimalist ballad with an acoustic guitar carrying Billie’s voice. Before a pulsing beat and segue into ‘LUNCH’, the opener ends with a live string quartet swooping in as if to give the pain an extended beat. ‘SKINNY’ seems to be literal, and yet a state of mind for a time when Billie was at her most vulnerable: “people say I look happy just because I got skinny, but the old me is still me and maybe the real me, and I think she’s pretty.” The strings also interpolate melodies from ‘THE GREATEST’ and ‘BLUE’, linking the songs together in a way which has ‘SKINNY’ exploring early bruised heartaches over oneself and love, with ‘THE GREATEST’ pulling in the rage which broods and creeps up on you a little later.

‘LUNCH’ is a flirt of a song, with Billie putting her desire and sexual hunger for women on full blast. It’s evident that Billie feels the most comfortable in her sexuality than ever before, singing: “I could eat that girl for lunch, yeah, she dances on my tongue, tastes like she might be the one.” The song has an incredible ‘bite me’ attitude that’s warranted, particularly after many within (and outside of) her audience tried to out her for queer-baiting when the music video for ‘Lost Cause’ released. ‘LUNCH’ has gliding guitars and a dirty-good bassline supporting her tongue-in-cheek musings over her lust (who she’s alluding to is simply none of our business).

‘CHIHIRO’ is electric with sounds of escapism through moody EDM production, paired with the significance of the song’s title – it’s named after Chihiro, the beloved protagonist from Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away. Billie has stated that the song’s production was influenced by an obsession she had over a song which would play in her gym. ‘CHIHIRO’ is, as many are saying online, for the club. Although that’s true, the song’s lyricism is incredibly sad, with Billie clearly channelling the importance of Chihiro’s journey in Spirited Away, which signifies standing up to your fears and growing up as a result. Finneas’ synth work in the latter half of the track is a standout for some of his best producing of all time.




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 ‘BIRDS OF A FEATHER’ took Billie and Finneas the longest to perfect. A warm and shimmery love song, Billie confesses her want and need for a special someone to stick around to the point she’d die when they go – bound to the grave together. Here, she’s belting her voice to new heights, such as when she sings: can’t change the weather, might not be forever (’til the day that I die) but if it’s forever, it’s even better.” The lyrics later reappear in a darker context during part one of ‘BLUE’: “I thought we were the same, birds of a feather, now I’m ashamed”, leading one to assume the person Billie wrote this love song about is no longer her idea of forever. In ‘WILDFLOWER’, Billie reflects on a relationship she has found herself involved in. This ballad lingers on Billie’s guilt of fitting into the couple’s dynamic and pain. There are many fan theories on who the situation and song is about; yet as of now nothing has been confirmed. A recording of something special to Billie can be heard at the beginning of the song, although to the listener there is no context.

‘THE GREATEST’, an immediate standout in Billie’s entire discography, begins feeling like a bittersweet campfire full of devastation which eventually engulfs itself into an arena anthem. It’s sure to have fans lose their voices while screaming it during her upcoming tour, such as the catharsis of singing ‘Happier Than Ever’ live. This one is a real tear-jerker and is relatable to those of us who have been in love with someone who never put in equal effort, thus rendering them unworthy of our patience and admiration. It’s immediate chills when Billie breaks out and belts: I loved you and I still do / just wanted passion from you, just wanted what I gave you / I waited – and waited.” Finneas’ production and instrumental arrangements here are the most dynamic in his career thus far, with blazing electric guitars and live drumming crashing in to support Billie’s frustrations.

‘L’AMOUR DE MA VIE’ (Love of My Life) begins quite grounded and stripped back, before completely switching up and becoming a liberating and moody production of vocal filters and 80s-infused synthpop. A standout line from the song is: “I thought I was depressed or losing my mind, my stomach upset almost all of the time / but after I left, it was obvious why.”




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Similar in concept to Eminem’s ‘Stan’, ‘THE DINER’ sees Billie exploring the concept of stalking and obsession – a dark side to fame which she falls victim to. The track is nauseatingly seductive with a beat and bassline reminiscent of Portishead and ‘O Green World’ from Gorillaz’s Demon Days. The song seems to be from the listeners POV – placing us in the role of her stalker – with a phone number mentioned at the end of the track which calls her voice memo. On ‘BITTERSUITE’, Billie is simply feeling bitter over someone she feels cautious falling in love with: I’ve been overseas, I’ve been havin’ dreams, you were in the foyer, I was on my knees.” Billie pleads to the individual she desires, although she quickly realises it’s a dangerous situation which won’t end well: “God, I hope it all goes away ‘cause I can’t fall in love with you, no matter how bad I want to.”

‘BLUE’, Billie’s longest song to date (5:43), sees her sinking deeper into heartache and ultimately closes out the album by revisiting her teenage state of mind as a two part track beginning with her unreleased fan favourite ‘true blue’. The first part, which incorporates ‘true blue’, is segued through the end of ‘BITTERSUITE’, giving the fans who know ‘true blue’ a tease into second guessing if she’s about to genuinely begin singing: “I try to live in black and white but I’m so blue.” ‘BLUE’ is also similar to ‘goodbye’ on WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, because the first verse is a lyrical medley threading lyrics from the album’s other songs. The second part of ‘BLUE’ is a meditative outro which brings the string quartet back, this time with a less hopeful feeling. By this point in the album you can really feel how changed and pained Billie has been through the past few years of love and heartbreak. She leaves the album’s journey open-ended, saying “but when can I hear the next one?” before it ends. As of now it’s unclear what Billie’s intentions and plans are, but fans are hopeful for context clues.

HIT ME HARD AND SOFT is Billie (and always by extension, Finneas) at her most experimental, raw, honest and relatable. She has once again proven why she is, as Lana Del Rey said, the voice of our generation – a force who never conforms or does what’s expected by her fans and peers. She truly is ahead in every way possible, and it’s exciting imagining what her craft and sound will be like in the years and decades to come. Billie’s newfound ability to unashamedly express her identity is heartwarming and inspiring to the many of us who shy away from being authentic at the sake of other’s opinions.