Ah, Billie Eilish, the perfect soundtrack to curling up in bed and eating a whole pint of chocolate-chip Ketamine. Listening to her music, one can hear exactly why Billie has become the voice of an entire generation who were raised on radical thinking but got exhausted of watching said thinkers get wasted and party all the time instead of doing anything. While her songs might sound cynical at the outset, a deeper perusal shows them to be incredibly honest and self-aware, but informed by everything around her. If Billie Eilish makes you sad, or creeped out, or confused, or inspired, you have the world to thank for that.
Since the release of her massive breakthrough album WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, Eilish has been on metalheads’ radar. This was in no small part because it was impossible to escape that one fucking song, but it was also because she was a pop star with green hair wearing an inverted cross and a Rob Zombie jersey. And while much of her music’s downbeat vibe lacks the thunder and lightning that most metalheads crave, a thorough listen proves that Billie isn’t just ironically wearing a goth costume — she has the kind of darkness inside of her that headbangers and kvltists know a thing or two about.
Here are the 10 Billie Eilish tracks that prove she can party with any black metal bands…
10. “xanny” (WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, 2019)
Overdriven bass is so much of what makes Billie Eilish’s music kind of sinister and dark. That coupled with the obvious drug reference of “xanny” feels inherently menacing. Sure, the song doesn’t seem to be about drugs, but it definitely feels like being on drugs; the track’s shifts from dulcet to depressive make one imagine that panicked moment when they try to leave their own trip ,but can’t quite stand up. Take as needed for pain.
9. “bad guy” (WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, 2019)
Just because everyone knows “bad guy” at this point doesn’t mean it’s not intense and subversive. The fact that the whole world went crazy over a song that basically describes a switch BDSM relationship speaks to the universality of Billie’s message. Meanwhile, the song’s examination of love and sex’s more psychological aspects feels super creepy, while its Alpha female lyrics set it apart from typical bubblegum. Definitely not one to play in front of your mom — though c’mon, she probably already loves it anyway.
8. “I Didn’t Change My Number” (Happier Than Ever, 2021)
That “I Didn’t Change My Number” opens with the snarling of a dog speaks to the song’s overall profile. The track is darkly self-assured, cruel in its chill. The sci-fi humming that later dominates the beat evokes the closed-off kind of rage that comes with finally admitting to someone that you just don’t fucking like them. That sense of breaking down all borders and being viciously real is something metalheads understand on a gut-deep level.
7. “NDA” (Happier Than Ever, 2021)
Though not exactly a rager, when it gets heavy, “NDA” gets especially heavy. But even during its slower, winding moments, there’s a haunted madness to this one. All throughout the track, the listener can picture Billie with her head in her hands, mentally flipping through the book of her life and trying to sort out the whirlwind that came on just as she grew up. The song’s nihilism definitely makes it one that dark-minded individuals like ourselves can be drawn into.
6. “COPYCAT” (don’t smile at me EP, 2017)
Without vocals, the opening of “COPYCAT” could be a Burzum interlude. The track’s beat makes one think of water dripping in a cave–until it opens up with a blinding blast of neon. Meanwhile, Billie’s lyrics calling out the title’s subject have a certain shudder-inducing mania to them. Imagine someone left an envelope on your doorstep with a thumb drive in it, and when you opened it up, this song file was in it. Yeah, happy house hunting.
5. “bury a friend” (WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, 2019)
Besides the shadowy morbidity of “bury a friend” — who doesn’t love lyrics about stapling your tongue and killing the sun? — the track’s stark skipping beat takes things to nefarious places. This song is like a nursery rhyme being performed by a box full of broken, possessed toys. The track’s pointed mixture of innocence and spookiness makes it feel unpleasantly subliminal, exploring parts of the psyche that are normally left locked up. Shudder long, shudder hard.
4. “Oxytocin” (Happier Than Ever, 2021)
Damn, it just got humid in here. Given its modern brutality, once can sometimes forget that banging was one of heavy metal’s original sins, and “Oxytocin” is as sexy as a song as one can find. Not only does Billie moan and whisper her way through most of this hypnotic number, she also implies that God might join her and the song’s subject in a threesome, which is deliciously blasphemous. Be careful, this one might set the bed on fire.
3. “Therefore I Am” (Happier Than Ever, 2021)
This is a song that would’ve made it onto our list of metal ‘fuck you’ tracks if it had distorted guitars and double bass. “Therefore I Am‘s” stomping beat and fuzzed-out bass definitely exude a bristling anger that we enjoy. More so, though, do the lyrics, which have the kind of sneer and flick of the hand that was so much of what made old-school metal feel badass. So many of Eilish’s songs belong on a breakup playlist, but this one is the track you blast on repeat once you’re over the ex.
2. “all the good girls go to hell” (WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, 2019)
It’s not just the references to Lucifer and the Devil that make “all the good girls go to hell” one of Billie Eilish’s most metal songs…though those help. It’s not even the eerie organ music over the chorus, or the stygian music video…though those help, too! No, it’s the jaunty, smirking immorality that’s present throughout the track that gives it such a bladed edge, the sense that Billie is nestling into a bed of embers in Hell while singing it. Embracing the darkness with a smile on your face — there’s nothing more metal than that.
1. “you should see me in a crown” (WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, 2019)
From the get-go, what makes “you should see me in a crown” metal is its grinding bassline and the eerie descending parts throughout the chorus. But the song’s central lyric also possesses a diabolical side that makes it a song metal fans can appreciate. There’s something about declaring oneself queen that feels both fundamentally wicked and brashly self-centered. That plus the song’s ominousness (a lyric like “Blood on a marble wall” is jarring to say the least) makes this one Billie’s most metal piece of music, a perfect mixture of confidence and conquest. In a world that makes living on scraps a virtue, there is nothing quite as evil as wanting it all.
Words by Chris Krovatin