The Meaning Behind “Lunch” by Billie Eilish and How She Finally Sounds Free

It’s been three years since Billie Eilish released an album. On May 17, she returned with Hit Me Hard and Soft and a new single, “Lunch,” which finds the singer ambitiously at ease. She sounds like her previous album title, Happier Than Ever.

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At 22, Eilish is a culturally dominant pop star. Though Taylor Swift and Beyoncé are still everywhere all at once, you get the feeling the pop landscape is being redecorated as Billie’s world.

Along with her brother Finneas O’Connell, Eilish often seems puzzled by the attention and success. However, there’s little to be confused by. Her new hit “Lunch” stands apart from a deluge of recent pop songs that often blend into each other like bleeding watercolors.

Though “Lunch” is built on restless lust, the anxiety sounds playful. And Eilish finally sounds free.  

How About “Lunch?

Lyrically, “Lunch” follows Eilish’s infatuation with a girl. The pulsating track is cheeky and horny while animating a carnal desire for connection.

I could eat that girl for lunch
Yeah, she dances on my tongue
Tastes like she might be the one

Eilish sounds like she’s having fun, and the song’s campy groove echoes the playful mood of her gothy first album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Since that album’s debut in 2019, Eilish has become one of the most recognized faces on the planet. Here, she sounds light, cautiously adapting to the extraordinary attention.

Baby, I think you were made for me
Somebody write down the recipe
Been trying hard not to overeat
You’re just so sweet

This Is Billie Eilish

During an interview with Stephen Colbert, Eilish discussed trying to understand her identity and the difficulties of doing so publicly.

“I kind of needed to play this whole thing of ‘I’m not what you think I am.’ I thought at the time that it was very me, and I realize in hindsight I was just trying to be seen and express myself and show that people can be multifaceted, and I am one of those people.” She said Hit Me Hard and Soft “is the most genuine thing I’ve ever made. It feels very, very me.”

“Lunch” was the catalyst for Eilish’s newfound confidence. “I wrote some of it before even doing anything with a girl, and then wrote the rest after,” she told Rolling Stone. “I’ve been in love with girls for my whole life, but I just didn’t understand—until, last year, I realized I wanted my face in a vagina. I was never planning on talking about my sexuality ever, in a million years.”

She’s grown up with the public speculating obsessively about her sexuality. Still, she sounds at peace. “It takes a while to find yourself, and I think it’s really unfair the way that the internet bullies you into talking about who you are and what you are.”

The Video

Her fans recognized Eilish’s tradition of pairing her album releases with a music video. (She released the video for “Bad Guy” on the day her debut came out.)

Using a combination of vivid colors and a lo-fi VHS aesthetic, Eilish dances, claps, and plays air piano. She snacks, rolls dice, flips the bird, and smiles mischievously as she sings about her fascination. The gesture may aim at those who scour and guess at the intimate details of her life.

Also, while the internet gasps over whether Eilish “likes girls,” the austere video appears to be the pop singer’s shrug toward the noise. Big deal. Move on. It’s pure Billie Eilish.


Most pop albums these days are bloated efforts with expanding editions to drive streaming numbers. Hit Me Hard and Soft is clean and compact, like Finneas’ production. Incidentally, the album arrived without any preceding singles.

On “Lunch,” Billie Eilish is letting go. Though her songwriting still conveys deep anxiety, the new album feels like an emotional release. It sounds like the album cover looks.

Perhaps the door she’s falling away from, into the water, is the exit from a despairing mind-room she’s felt locked inside. What makes Eilish so intriguing is the “so what” innocence paired with brooding introspection.

Her coming-of-age story happened while the world watched. Her young fans see themselves in Eilish—awkward, unsure, quirky, and painfully shy. Life is often absurd, and so is dating. Sometimes, you just want “Lunch.”

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Photo by Sarah Morris/WireImage

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