Monday, November 26th, 2018

Billie Eilish – When the Party’s Over

After you’ve cried when you want to…


Matias Taylor: Gorgeous, heartbreaking, and deceptively simple, but it refuses to leave my mind after weeks. This is the sound of walking back home during a cold night after you just got dumped for the first time in your life, quietly trudging through snowfall while trying not to cry. Sometimes being a teenager sucks, and Billie gets it. She also gets that teenage emotions channeled into an sophisticated, ambitious packaging can make them even more powerful.

Alfred Soto: Wracked with emotion, barely registering a pulse, “When the Party’s Over” is too concerned with the “over” with no sense of why the party sucked.

John Seroff: I’m okay with Billie Eilish fully pivoting to Victorian goth Imogen Heap, but, especially given the brevity and simplicity of “party’s over,” I’d appreciate less junior high melodrama and more “there” there. As is, it’s a neat emotional magic trick without much to back it up.

Anthony Easton: A haunting and lovely variation of a theme that has existed since the 1890s. The catch in her voice, and how that catch leads to a kind of talk-singing, has an elegant misery. Eilish sells the heartbreak as real, and the themes as anything but cliché. 

Katherine St Asaph: As much as I wish I could play the alt-pop class of 2018 (and ’17, ’16…) “Precious Things” to show that a piano can be used for things other than ballads, this isn’t bad, in a bleary Imogen Heap way. This may well be anachronistic now, but albums need something as an ending track.

Stephen Eisermann: A song that begs to be on the soundtrack of a holiday movie, to be played during the inevitable separation of the main couple isn’t usually my cup of tea, but Billie Eilish’s layered vocals are hard to resist. Eilish’s whole thing seems to be about aesthetics and while I think she’s achieving that vibe with her art, I’m not entirely sure it’s all that good. And that sucks because, those layered vocals are pretty great.

Micha Cavaseno: Asking as uneven and frail a vocalist as Eilish to emphasize intimate details with a hushed performance is a bizarre and downright sadistic thing to do, and, were it not for the fact that this single is doing fine, I’d say this could easily be a sick joke at this girl’s expense. Of course the revelation is that this is going to result in it being propped up by a choir of phantasmal Auto-Tuned voices but still going to remain a threadbare and rather feebly meandering ballad that emphasizes the ineptitude by wallowing in vague senses of despair. Were this any man with an acoustic guitar, it would rightly be tarred and feathered and burned before thrown into the sea as the worst sort of misanthropic dribble. The hope that this sort of progressive modernity with someone as “Nu-Cool” as Eilish redeems it misses me entirely.

Ryo Miyauchi: Billie Eilish gets a little too obsessed to set a scene of melancholy solitude. Those lonely, forlorn pianos and quiet, curling vocals that barely raise above a whisper cross off the sad-pop checklist, and the exact delivery of “When the Party’s Over makes emotional fragility comes off as an aesthetic than sincere expression.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: A quiet ballad for wrapped-in-your-blanket sadness that doesn’t feel too entrenched in its post-Bon Iver production. Eilish’s melismatic vocal lines are a soothing respite from the heartbreak that otherwise suffuses the song.

Reader average: [6] (1 vote)

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