Tuesday, August 14th, 2018

Billie Eilish – You Should See Me in a Crown

And Billie should see your editor in a tiara.


Katherine St Asaph: The other day at Panera — yes, I know, I’m chronically dehydrated and chronically on deadline, and they have both wi-fi and enormous cups for tea — I realized I’d sat behind some high schoolers talking about music. This happens occasionally, and it always makes me feel self-conscious, like I’m some kind of spy (given that the world’s actual spies get drunk and brag about being spies, it’s not that grandiose a thought), or like one glance and they’d realize the person behind them is Washed Oz, churning out their content with wet hair and a banged-up laptop in a Panera. It’s also that the artists they talk about usually seem, to me, like watered-down versions of the dramatics I loved as a teen, or sterile interchangeable stuff that substitutes sass for personality. So when someone brought up Billie Eilish, complete with Billie Eilish fan in-jokes, I was stunned, as if I’d recognized someone’s Twitter avatar at the DMV: this artist I know primarily from the Internet is also apparently mega-popular among Actual Teens, and both of us think she’s brilliant. She solicits perfume samples from her fans and wears a crown full of fuck-off nope-gif spiders. Her songs quote The Walking Dead and, on “You Should See Me in a Crown,” Moriarty from Sherlock. The commenters hear Lorde in “Crown,” unsurprisingly and correctly, but also “Army of Me,” Crystal Castles, Pink Floyd. There’s a sound in the verse that I swear is the sound of a CD burner once it’s done ripping a CD; another commenter hears Skype. Her cowriter isn’t a Joel Little/Liz Rose/Gino Barletta/Sebastian Kole Svengali, but her actual brother, which probably accounts for her lyrics’ lack of hello-fellow-kidsing. One of her early singles was about serial murder, and “Crown” is genuine sadistic teenage revenge fantasy: “Look Who’s Perfect Now” for people who grew up on “Yonkers.” Basically, as Allie Lindsey wrote in the comments, “She’s sixteen and just made everybody listening to this feel like a badass.”

Alex Clifton: A meditation on power from a teenage girl titled from a line in Sherlock. That sounds messy, and in some ways it is–very heavy bass that ends up drowning out the chorus, almost no strong melody to speak of–but remains appealing. I’m a huge fan of teen girls exploring their darker, less savoury sides, and I really liked Eilish’s “Bellyache” for that reason. This song feels more personal, even if she is still playing a character. To sing a song like this, you need a certain amount of swagger; whatever other faults the song has, Eilish certainly has the confidence to sell it. I fully believe that if Billie Eilish stepped on my head she would immediately crush it, and I am fine with that. 

Alfred Soto: Distorting her voice to match the gnarled emotions that others project on her is a gimmick disguised as a trick for many performers less spooky than Billie Eilish. The title conceit works too: watch out, assholes, for if you give her a little power she’ll destroy you all.

Stephen Eisermann: This song so badly wants to be featured on Riverdale but I just don’t see that happening, especially because the show has just recently gone off the rails and this song is… as cookie-cutter wannabe-bad as they come.

Will Adams: Alternately skitters and booms similar to Reputation‘s most exciting moments, with the added layer of unrelenting tension via Billie Eilish’s throaty delivery. The references to blood and the muahaha-kindgom-all-mine cackling verge on posturing, but I’ll take it any day over gloopy balladry.

Edward Okulicz: I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve heard from Eilish so far, and “Crown” suggests her instincts for pop are fantastic — she knows how to get the most from her voice and how to wrap her songs in sounds for maximum, brutal impact. My one complaint is that the implied threat inherent in a fragment like “if you think I’m pretty….” is so much better than what actually comes after it. Otherwise she’s in fine, terrifying form again.

Dorian Sinclair: I wasn’t expecting the production on “You Should See Me in a Crown” to be as downright sinister as it is. There’s a real menace underlying the entire song, the tension helped along by how tautly the verse is delivered before things unfurl in the chorus. The lyrics may not be the most illuminating, and the abruptness with which things conclude is jarring, but when it comes to atmosphere, “Crown” delivers.

Reader average: [4.42] (7 votes)

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2 Responses to “Billie Eilish – You Should See Me in a Crown”

  1. S/o Katherine fuckin excellent blurb

  2. thanks! this song still rules