Friday, October 11th, 2019

Billie Eilish – All the Good Girls Go to Hell

Her lowest score yet! Saltwater wells in my eyes…


Kayla Beardslee: God, this is edgy. Eilish’s producer and brother Finneas has said that “good girls” is about climate change, and there are a couple — seriously, like four — repeated lines explicitly about the topic (“Hills burn in California / Don’t say I didn’t warn ya” and “Once the water starts to rise”), but those lyrics are kind of it for socially conscious songwriting. The rest of the track’s runtime is devoted to  e d g e  and a muddled metaphor about God and the Devil discussing climate change. Theoretically, that sort of twist on the topic could be interesting, but Eilish’s overpowering aesthetic hampers the message. “All the good girls go to hell” (a phrase so blunt that I had to restrain myself from writing it in Spongebob meme text) slots so easily into her dark, Halloweenish persona that my instinct as a listener is to interpret the satanic lyrics as a shallow contribution to her aesthetic, rather than an image with deeper meaning. Even knowing the context, I still resist it as a questionable conceit. Other artists are making more specific and/or evocative songs about climate change, and people like Greta Thunberg are showing us that anger and directness are the best forms of climate activism — so, as a musically and lyrically middling cut in Eilish’s discography, “good girls” flounders. And yet, when the stakes are this high, I suppose some effort is better than nothing.

Hazel Southwell: The better Garbage tracks were the ones with tunes.

Alfred Soto: The originality of Billie Eilish’s breakthrough comes through on her perkiest tracks. Mumbling through fantasies whose outcomes she’s so certain about, implicating herself as a good girl and a good girl who’d risk going to hell for those same fantasies she’s barely limned, she proves herself a typical adolescent, albeit one with a sense of tunes and an ear for organ lines. 

Joshua Copperman: “My Strange Addiction” is such an obvious choice for a single. I’d push the Invisalign track to radio before I pushed this.

Will Adams: While I question the decision to make this the next single when “My Strange Addiction” is right! there!, this is another strong example of Billie Eilish’s kinetic energy. She plays the devil, sneers about Saint Peter, gestures toward our current climate calamities and invokes the pop good-girls-vs.-bad-girls trope, all while the mischievous track twitters away. The message ends up a little garbled, but the conviction is there.

Katherine St Asaph: “Heartless”-Watch 2K19 continues, somehow. To be fair, this also occasionally sounds like Regina Spektor and “All That She Wants.” And it also sounds like Billie Eilish, albeit a slight version thereof.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Tacky sonics (synths and bass directly from Homestuck Vol. 7, vocal effects from 2015 Halsey) and even tackier faux-sacrilegious lyrics, but Eilish’s charisma wins out even still. I was going to write something about not knowing what level of irony she’s on here but it doesn’t even matter — the song works solely on the good time she’s having.

Reader average: [9] (1 vote)

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One Response to “Billie Eilish – All the Good Girls Go to Hell”

  1. I was really surprised by the subhead, turns out When the Party’s Over scored 0.15 higher.

    Also rip the alt-text on my first link :( got lost in the system somehow.