Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Billie Eilish gets spiritual in new single ‘What Was I Made For?’

With a cast full of A-list actors and a soundtrack of A-list musicians to match the producers of the new Barbie movie have pulled every string and connection to make some unforgettable cinema with some of the biggest names and perhaps the one everyone is most excited for - Billie Eilish

Staying true to herself and her sound Eilish delivers her staple ethereal and beautifully sad vocals and a slow, simple melancholic piano melody contrast to the upbeat pop performances on the rest of the album perfect for the emotional turning point for our protagonist (aka Barbie).

What Was I Made For?’ asks deep soul-searching questions even with some lyrics being quite literal and specific to the movie it seems both the song and its music video are littered with metaphors for Eilish’s real feelings. “Looked so alive / Turns out I’m not real / Just something you paid for”.

The song focuses on the feeling of losing your purpose and falling back into old patterns of depression after healing - a cycle Eilish has talked about many times. 

With the ghostly breathy vocals and soft melody are reminiscent of Eilish’s previous work with ‘The 30th’, ‘Happier Than Ever’ and ‘i love you’ coming to mind but the difference in this new single is that there is no build up to a louder more powerful ending that releases all these feelings out in one big burst giving the listener the true defeated and lost feeling both Eilish and the character this song was written for are feeling. During the self directed music video a pristine Billie sits at a desk pulling out tiny versions of previous iconic outfits she has worn including outfits from previous music videos and milestones in her career such as the suit she wore to the Grammys in 2020 where she made history. However throughout this trip down memory lane things keep interrupting Eilish - a gust of wind, an earthquake, a rainstorm - all seemingly metaphors for the bumps that have come with her career and with the lyrics “I don’t know how to feel / But someday I might” this song is Eilish’s unconscious effort to accept who she was in the past and the things that have happened and move on to who she will be. 

While this ballad is meant to be made from the perspective of Barbie asking the big spiritual questions - in Barbie’s case quite literally wondering why she was made - the song resonates with Eilish well with themes of self-confidence and imposter syndrome being reoccurring in her music.  After the backlash she had received when switching her usual dark aesthetic rooted in the horror genre with lyrics to match for her latest much lighter-themed album ‘Happier Than Ever’ all about regrowth and even bleaching her hair to fit the new aesthetic this clearly had an effect on Eilish and the way she viewed her relationship with her fans. Eilish sat down with Zane Lowe to discuss just that and how this song - while she may not have been pushed to write it if not for the soundtrack - has opened her eyes to many things in her life and she asks herself that same deep question daily. 

I find it hard to write about my exact feelings in my life…Every lyric is exactly how I feel” - Billie Eilish for The Zane Lowe Interview, Apple Music

Anna Jackson


Image: ‘What Was I Made For?’ Official Single Cover

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment Here;