3 Must-Hear Tracks from Billie Eilish’s New Album ‘Hit Me Hard and Soft’

Less than two days after Billie Eilish won a Grammy for Song of the Year for “What Was I Made For?” she dyed her hair black, attached a weight to her shoulders, and submerged herself for minutes at a time to shoot the cover art for Hit Me Hard and Soft.

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Her third album arrived the same day as her hit single “Lunch,” a song with and without double entendres about lust. Though there are traces of her previous albums—the jazzy Happier than Ever and her darkly fragile debut—Eilish has said the new album feels like the version of her from When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?  

It’s theatrical and raw and worth your time to let the whole thing play. Still, here are three must-hear tracks from Hit Me Hard and Soft.

“Chihiro”

The Japanese animated film Spirited Away tells the story of Chihiro, a young girl who enters a world of spirits. However, Eilish seems to use the story as a metaphor for closed doors, shutting someone out, feeling trapped inside, or a general need to control. In the chorus, she pleads to Open up the door. Maybe it’s the moment before the white door on the cover art opens, and Eilish falls into an abyss. The uptempo track is built around her brother Finneas’ bass, which sounds like Daft Punk’s French disco. “Chihiro” builds until a wall of synths overwhelms Eilish as she repeats, Don’t know if you’ll make it back. Musically, it parallels the void she’s sinking into on the album cover.

Open up the door, can you open up the door?
I know you said before you can’t cope with any more
You told me it was war, said you’d show me what’s in store
I hope it’s not for sure, can you open up the door?

“The Greatest”

Eilish is known for her feathery voice—restrained and patient. She sings plaintively on “The Greatest” over a delicate guitar before the song breaks into a cathartic wail like she’s been waiting years to let out. It’s not entirely new to her. (The title track from Happier than Ever slowly builds to distorted emo.) Over Finneas’ mountainous arrangement, Eilish switches moods in “The Greatest” from heartbreak to release to resignation. She wants a relationship, but something’s always in the way. It doesn’t matter who’s at fault when the ending’s the same. “The Greatest” feels like an intimate conversation, but “you” could also be an amalgamation of failed connections. Play it loud.

I, I loved you
And I still do
Just wanted passion from you
Just wanted what I gave you
I waited
And waited

“L’Amour de Ma Vie”

The title translates to “Love of My Life,” and Eilish sings blankly about a relationship she’s happy has ended. Hit Me Hard and Soft has moments where Finneas moves the production suddenly—similar to Coldplay’s Brian Eno-helmed Viva La Vida. Beginning with sad jazz, “L’Amour de Ma Vie” abruptly transforms into a club anthem. The banger section sounds like Eilish in a strobing club with The Weeknd. It also mirrors falling in and out of love: You’re having fun until you’re not.

I wish you the best for the rest of your life
Felt sorry for you when I looked in your eyes
But I need to confess I told you a lie
I said you, you were the love of my life

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Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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