The student news site of Paul D. Schreiber Senior High School

The Schreiber Times

The student news site of Paul D. Schreiber Senior High School

The Schreiber Times

The student news site of Paul D. Schreiber Senior High School

The Schreiber Times

Hit Me Hard and Soft Review

At its core, Billie Eilish’s new album HIT ME HARD AND SOFT is a perfect blend of new and old.  The album transports listeners back to Eilish’s eerie melodies of her first album don’t smile at me, incorporating the edgy and haunting effects of WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, and presents listeners with instrumentals and vocals that build up (in a similar style of Happier Than Ever) until reaching the final climax.  With this new album came a tradition of collaborating with her producer, brother, and artist in his own right, FINNEAS.  Just like the repetitiveness of HIT ME HARD AND SOFT contributes to the low points of the album, this exploration of sounds results in many of the album’s highlights and displays Billie Eilish’s growth.   

“I think this is one of her best albums yet, and I love the vibes of the album,” said junior Bella Lucas.

Eilish’s lyrics in her new album are deeply personal, containing references to past relationships, her relationship with the public, and her own self-image.  HIT ME HARD AND SOFT opens up with “SKINNY,” a stripped-back acoustic ballad with lilting vocals and an orchestral ending.  Second on the tracklist is “LUNCH,” a lighthearted and raunchy bedroom pop song that celebrates Eilish’s sexuality and has garnered widespread attention on social media.  “LUNCH” is extremely playful, but the song’s tongue-in-cheek lyrics clash with the laid-back instrumentals, and is very similar to rising artist Chappell Roan’s energetic “Red Wine Supernova.” 

 Up next is “CHIHIRO,” which starts soft— with Eilish’s soprano sounding graceful and light—but the instrumentals throughout the first half are simply not memorable enough compared to the rest of the production throughout the album.  There is a notable switch after the first chous, between electronically hazy melodies, which culminate into a shimmering ending, reminiscent of the artists like Grimes or Crystal Castles.  Following “CHIHIRO” is “BIRDS OF A FEATHER,” a dreamy, romantic song sounding as though it was made for staring out the window during a long road trip, and a clear standout on the album.  Eilish’s passionate, sometimes-morbid lyrics combined with her decision to utilize chords from outside of the song’s key compels the listener to want to listen again and again. 

“‘BIRDS OF A FEATHER’ was my absolute favorite song on the album.  Overall, I really enjoyed HIT ME HARD AND SOFT, and I’m excited to see what Billie Eilish puts out next,” said junior Fiona Zeng.  

The fifth track “WILDFLOWER ” is fascinating, but this track lacks the charm or originality of the two songs before it.  “WILDFLOWER” is rumored to be about a past girlfriend of Eilish’s ex Jesse Rutherford, lead singer for the pop-rock band The Neighborhood, and paints a picture of female friendship with guilt-ridden romance.  The track’s woeful, acoustic sounds alternate between vivid and vague bear a noticeable resemblance to The Neighborhood’s Chip Chrome and the Monotones-era sound.  Eilish once again creates a Happier Than Ever-like crescendo at the end of the song, but it is not as powerful as previous tracks. 

 Eilish then transitions into “THE GREATEST,” a track with a melancholy ukulele introduction that could be compared to her earlier hits “Ocean Eyes” or “Happier Than Ever” while containing heartbreaking references to sacrifices Eilish made for an ex-lover.  As Eilish mourns everything she lost during her relationship, her vocals get higher, leading to an eventual key change; the bridge following this change is laden with drums and guitar, and is the ultimate climax of the song.  The overall buildup of “THE GREATEST” leads to a change in genre (not just volume and strength), and achieves its desired effect. 

The next track off the album, “L’AMOUR DE MA VIE” (French for “love of my life,”) displays Eilish’s switch from the sadness that resulted from the end of her relationship to the humor she was able to gain from it.  In this track, Eilish plays with jazzy drum fills, as she makes her voice twist; FINNEAS then introduces powerful synths and a searing bass to transform the song into a combination of 80’s synth-rock and modern electronic melodies.  The three final songs of HIT ME HARD AND SOFT—“THE DINER,” “BITTERSUITE,” and “BLUE”are consistently strong, and are where the album truly shines.  “THE DINER” is a creepy nod to Eilish’s past works, but this time she sings from the perspective of her past stalker, with echoing whispers and instrumentals in the background.  

Throughout “BITTERSUITE,” Eilish and her brother FINNEAS explored a variety of production styles as Eilish explores the feeling of trying to stop herself from falling in love with someone “paranoid” and “paralyzed.”  As she accepts her feelings, Eilish references “L’AMOUR DE MA VIE” in her lyrics and reverts back to the electronic sound found in that track.  Her voice becomes incomprehensible until the song is transformed entirely, and sounds as though it would belong on the soundtrack of the hit movie “Blade Runner.”  The album concludes with “BLUE,” a finished combination of an unreleased fan favorite (“True Blue”) and a scrapped Happier Than Ever track (“Born Blue”).  “BLUE” is fascinating to listen to with Eilish referencing all of the songs on the album, while sirens, screams, and Labyrinth-style screeches echo in the background.  

As the album comes to a close, Eilish comes to terms with who her past lover actually was, accepting that their relationship was never going to end painlessly, while accompanied by a beautiful orchestral ending.  All of the tracks on this album are representative of Billie Eilish’s growth as an artist, and shows that while she may be more mature, she can still appreciate her past works.  HIT ME HARD AND SOFT may end with “BLUE,” but Eilish signals that there’s still more to come in her musical journey with one final line: “But when can I hear the next one?”