Exeter, Devon UK • Jun 15, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Music Album Review: ‘HIT ME HARD AND SOFT’ by Billie Eilish

Album Review: ‘HIT ME HARD AND SOFT’ by Billie Eilish

Antonella Perna analyses Billie Eilish's powerful and personal new album, celebrating her talent as an artist in exploring such a range of hard-hitting topics.
2 mins read
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Billie Eilish, 2019 (Lars Crommelink via Flickr)

Following the rise of streaming services and the fall of physical records, albums are seldom listened to in the order intended by the artist. This has led to an era of mass-production of singles and LPs that appear more collections of songs than coherent, structured albums.

Billie Eilish’s third album, HIT ME HARD AND SOFT, does just the opposite. The refreshing 44-minute release, complete with medley-esque transitions, makes for an easy, enjoyable listening experience throughout, exploring different themes and sounds. It plays like a mature blend of her first album and her second, with distinct influences from all of her releases.

The record opens with SKINNY, a slow, vulnerable delve into Eilish’s battle with body image and the public’s reception of her appearance. The song takes a tender approach to a topic that, despite recent progress, remains taboo in an age of the glorification of appetite-reducing drugs.

The track fades away into an upbeat bass, the beginning of LUNCH, a raw exploration of Sapphic desire. Following her coming out in late 2023, Eilish has been public with expressing her sexuality. Despite not releasing singles prior to the album, snippets of some songs went viral on social media, creating well-deserved anticipation for one of the best songs on the album.

The next song is CHIHIRO, a bass-heavy song loosely based on the film ‘Spirited Away’. Around the 4-minute mark, the downbeat track builds to a synth-y, all-encompassing auditory experience, making it one of the most interesting and unique contributions to the album.

BIRDS OF A FEATHER follows, a catchy, sentimental song, endearingly expressing her love for someone. This is strikingly different to the subsequent track, WILDFLOWER, which details the guilt and overthinking experienced by dating a friend’s ex. A slow, beautiful melody describes the inability to move forward in a seemingly happy relationship.

The album lingers briefly on a melancholic tone with THE GREATEST, a ballad that Eilish has expressed is extremely meaningful to her, exploring the sinking feelings of being undervalued in a relationship.

The following track is L’AMOUR DE MA VIE, which explores a number of post-breakup emotions. The song starts with a jazzy, rhythmic tune, and then transitions into a synth-heavy pop melody, creating a standout song on the record.

Things get darker with THE DINER, a smooth, semi-electronic song speculated to be about Eilish’s struggles in 2023 with a stalker. The album then follows into a song about struggling with unrequited love, BITTERSUITE, which closes with a dark, complex transition into the last song.

The final track, BLUE, is a fusion of True Blue, an unreleased song from the days of her debut EP ‘don’t smile at me’, and Born Blue, intended for her sophomore album, ‘Happier Than Ever’. The first half of the song depicts the inability to move on from a relationship, and the second describes the apathy of someone born into a cold-shoulder family. The lyrics reference a call-back to every other track on the album, giving it a sense of closure.

The album, while mellower than her first, is an exceptional addition to her discography, and an impressive display of artistry from 22-year-old Billie Eilish.

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