Ranking the Top 5 Songs by Billie Eilish

In just a few years, Billie Eilish has changed pop music. Along with her brother and producer Finneas, Eilish creates dark, ambient confessionals while merging jazz, emo, and alternative electro-pop.

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With the announcement of her upcoming third studio album Hit Me Hard and Soft, due May 17, here’s a list of Eilish’s essential songs ranked to catch you up to speed on highlights from her back catalog.

5. “When the Party’s Over” from When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (2019)

The song begins with Eilish singing over a layered choir of her own voice. Meanwhile, Finneas mangles some of the voices into digitized and bit-crushed echoes that sound like competing characters in Eilish’s head. “When the Party’s Over” is a heartrending breakup song, with Eilish’s despairing admission: And I could lie, say I like it like that, like it like that. The haunting ballad is the halfway point on a stunning debut and might be her finest vocal performance.

Don’t you know I’m no good for you?
I’ve learned to lose you. Can’t afford to
Tore my shirt to stop you bleedin’
But nothin’ ever stops you leavin’

4. “Ocean Eyes” Single (2016)

“Ocean Eyes” started everything for Eilish. Her brother had written the song for his band but decided it would sound better with his sister singing instead. She was only 13. Then the track went viral on SoundCloud, and Eilish soon had a recording contract. “Ocean Eyes” sounds like Lana Del Rey’s California dream pop. Del Rey similarly changed the sound of pop music, and “Ocean Eyes” was a passing torch, though Eilish’s complete pop takeover was still three years away.

I’ve been watchin’ you for some time
Can’t stop starin’ at those ocean eyes
Burning cities and napalm skies
Fifteen flares inside those ocean eyes
Your ocean eyes

3. “Happier than Ever” from Happier than Ever (2021)

The title track to Eilish’s second album sounds like she’s singing in a smokey Paris club in the 1930s. “Happier than Ever” is divided into two distinct halves. First, over tender guitar chords, Eilish emotes a sad ballad. But the second half turns into a blown-out emo purge where Eilish releases her rage. The song’s second part wouldn’t sound out of place on a Paramore album, and it’s the kind of lyric Hayley Williams would be proud of. Eilish is known for reaching emotional peaks without raising her voice, sometimes beyond a whisper. But “Happier than Ever” is a therapeutic release that sounds like years of bottled-up angst. Yet, it’s the song’s final line where Eilish delivers the most brutal scream to her ex: “Just f—ing leave me alone.”

When I’m away from you, I’m happier than ever
Wish I could explain it better
I wish it wasn’t true
Give me a day or two to think of something clever
To write myself a letter
To tell me what to do

2. “What Was I Made For?” from the Motion Picture Barbie (2023)

Eilish and Finneas wrote the song for the Greta Gerwig film Barbie. “What Was I Made For?” is a lament about identity. Using the Barbie doll as a metaphor, Eilish explained to Variety how she felt at times like she was floating growing up, but “things change, and you grow, and sometimes you just feel like you don’t know how to float anymore.” The song is also about hopelessness and surviving the malaise of life. The earnest ballad parallels the fashion doll in the film, but the emotional connection with sadness and loneliness are also hallmarks of Eilish and Finneas’ songwriting.

When did it end? All the enjoyment
I’m sad again, don’t tell my boyfriend
It’s not what he’s made for
What was I made for?

1. “Bad Guy” from When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (2019)

“Bad Guy” introduced Eilish to the world, and she introduced the song by slurping and removing her Invisalign. Once she removes the mouth gear, Finneas’s 808 bass and four-on-the-floor kick drums support her as Eilish hums with detached aloofness before changing the pop landscape in three minutes and fourteen seconds. On her breakout single, Eilish’s voice is the antithesis of the loud, soaring runs that make judges turn their chairs around on reality TV singing competition shows. While everyone else belted the high notes, Eilish conquered the music world with a whisper.

So you’re a tough guy
Like it really rough guy
Just can’t get enough guy
Chest always so puffed guy

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Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

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