6 of Billie Eilish’s Most Striking Lyrics

Billie Eilish is arguably one of the best songwriters working in pop music. She and her brother, the brilliant songwriter and producer Finneas O’Connell, are the powerhouse songwriting team behind the many hits off her groundbreaking albums, When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? and Happier Than Ever. Below, we look at some of the most striking lyrics the superstar has to offer.

Videos by American Songwriter

1. Think I forgot how to be happy/Something I’m not, but something I can be/Something I wait for/Something I’m made for (“What Was I Made For?”)

“What Was I Made For?,” the stunning orchestral song that Eilish and O’Connell wrote for the Barbie movie, speaks to the film’s central plot and Eilish’s current state of mind as a young superstar who’s at times felt like her value is worth more in money than her own happiness. But these poetically beautiful last lines of the song don’t just reflect how she feels, but speak to the universal feeling of being unhappy, yet hopeful that it is something I’m made for.

2. You couldn’t save me, but you can’t let me go/I can crave you, but you don’t need to know (“NDA”)

With the lines above, Eilish demonstrates how she doesn’t need to use a lot of words to make a compelling statement. The lyrics above are short, but sweet, with you couldn’t save me / But you can’t let me go, proving particularly striking. The lyrics evoke a feeling of entrapment, Eilish making you feel like you’re drowning in the darkness with her, merely one example of her evocative songwriting.

3. Tell me which one is worse / Living or dying first / Sleeping inside a hearse…You should see me in a crown / Your silence is my favorite sound (“You Should See Me in a Crown”)

Eilish isn’t one to shy away from graphic imagery in her songwriting, and “You Should See Me In a Crown” is one of the shining examples of that. The song casts her as a ruthless ruler who delights in the sight of blood on a marble wall and the sound of her subjects’ screams. But the lyrics above are perhaps the best example of how she blends cleverness with darkness, making for some of her most striking lyrics.

[RELATED: Ranking All the Songs on Billie Eilish’s Debut Album]

4. Please don’t try to kiss me on the sidewalk / On your cigarette break / I can’t afford to love someone / Who isn’t dying by mistake in Silver Lake (“Xanny”)

Eilish’s writing is grim on “Xanny.” Here, she takes on the subject of drug addiction, complete with visions of standing in a cloud of cigarette smoke and inebriated people detached from reality. The lyrics above capture the song’s essence and were inspired by the singer’s acquaintances who’ve died from drug use, making the song’s meaning even more powerful.

5. Man is such a fool / Why are we saving him? / Poisoning themselves now / Begging for our help, wow! / Hills burn in California / My turn to ignore ya / Don’t say I didn’t warn ya (“All the Good Girls Go to Hell”)

If the title “All the Good Girls Go to Hell” wasn’t ear-perking enough, then the lyrics above will surely do the trick. Here, Eilish is writing from the perspective of the Devil, nodding to climate change and the frequent wildfires in her home state of California. Eilish’s pen is always strong, but “Good Girls” proves that her songwriting genius knows no bounds.

6. Try not to abuse your power / I know we didn’t choose to change / You might not wanna lose your power / But having it’s so strange (“Your Power”)

The opening lines of “Your Power” from Eilish’s sophomore album, Happier Than Ever, are among the album’s best. Opening with the forewarning line, try not to abuse your power, the lyrics serve as a cautionary tale about not letting one’s ego or sense of power get too out of control.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Leave a Reply

Kim Petras Drops Surprise Album, ‘Problematique’

Songs You Didn’t Know Richie Sambora Co-Wrote for Bon Jovi