“Happier Than Ever” Album in Review

     Critically acclaimed and 7-time Grammy winner, Billie Eilish, makes a splash in the music industry with the anticipated release of her monumental sophomore album, Happier Than Ever. Carefully assembled, Eilish sews together 16 thematic and personal tracks with threads of maturity and personality as her grand return to the pop scene on July 30. With strong themes of growth and relationships since her debut album, the teenager details the pains and struggles following her sudden soar to stardom. Vulnerability and confidence collide as millions of eyes watch and critique her every move considering how quickly she grew to become a new pillar for the music landscape. Billie’s debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go, set a high standard and expectation for Happier Than Ever, and it’s time to sit back and unwind if goals for the sophomore album were met. 

     Listening to the tracks, it’s apparent this project isn’t as experimental as her debut album was, with many tracks sounding highly similar to me. The titular and penultimate track, Happier Than Ever remains a fan favorite and one of the most unique songs on the album sharing the same name. The song begins mopey and somber, but transitions halfway into an emotional rock anthem about her ex. In addition to this, Not My Responsibility, the 9th track, and spoken word interlude, remains highly unique and stands as a true response to all her body shamers, especially after the internet humiliated and criticized her over tank top photos that went viral during quarantine. “The body I was born with, Is it not what you wanted?” Eilish asks within the track. Billie Bossa Nova, a bossa nova and jazz-inspired track remains one of the more chill and sensual tracks, with sensuality being a new major theme in the project. A quiet Eilish sings about using fake aliases at hotels to disguise herself and her lover. Other than these aforementioned tracks in addition to I Didn’t Change My Number and Overheated, nothing in particular stuck out to me as something groundbreaking put out by the artist, and overall just seems lackluster.

     Certain individual tracks off the album, such as I Didn’t Change My Number and Happier Than Ever, were undeniably catchy, but zooming out and looking at the big picture, the project felt disappointing. High standards came from this being from the one and only Billie Eilish, while low expectations were set following the poor and lackluster singles choice leading up to the grand release. Lost Cause and My Power being some of our first tastes of the album made me believe it’d be nothing special, and although the complete project beat these expectations, it was still underwhelming. The high anticipation for new radio hits since her debut album’s colossal success I feel weren’t met, with Happier Than Ever being the only song I imagine playing on the radio. As much of a letdown as Happier Than Ever was, I appreciate Eilish taking a step back to add a deeper personal sense into her art in addition to a stylistic change, unfamiliar to hits like Bad Guy. A new general sound is heard on this album with less emphasis on experimentation, which although is different from anything written by Billie Eilish before, disappointed me.