By Kaleb Morgan
Billie Eilish is taking the world by storm with her new single, “bury a friend”, on January 30, 2019 and all I have to say is holy shit. The 17-year-old performer has been active since 2015 but her singles in 2018 have launched her to the forefront of the alt-indie scene and in the two days it has been out, the song has been streamed 15 million times. Horror blog, Gayly Dreadful, has dubbed the tone of the singles off her new album (‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’) as “Horror Pop”, which is extraordinarily accurate. Her new video single follows up two similar songs “you should see me in a crown” and “when the party’s over” which follow a dark and solemn tone.
The video is directed by “The Conjuring 3” and “The Curse of La Llorana” director, Michael Chaves. The style of the video is obviously intended to be creepy with possible influences like “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” as well as Argentinian horror film, “Terrified” guiding the dark music video.
The video opens to an artist named Crooks lying in bed calling Billie to bed, after it pans to her being under the bed with black eyes. Then she stands over Crooks as he tells her to “Come here”, there is then a hard cut to Billie crashing through the door to her (in-video) apartment. The next scene is analogous to any possession film, Billie Eilish flails about as if she is battling with whatever entity has invaded her. When the singer gains her composure, she is then grabbed by multiple hands, which are protected by black nitrile gloves.
This next scene flashes dramatically, so if you are epileptic then watch it with caution. Billie is sitting in a dark room as she is being examined by the gloved hands and a flash light that blinks out to match the shrill beat of the song. Then the lights come on and she is a clinical room with white walls. The gloves rip open the back of her shirt and she is injected with quite a bit of syringes full of a black liquid similar to the liquid she drinks and excretes in the “when the party’s over” video (see images). Is it the same liquid and it ties the videos together? That remains to be known but it does strike curiosity.
The syringes are plunged as she repeats the line “I wanna end me…” which leads the viewer to believe this may be some sort of sedative to numb herself to the entity, like an anti psychotic medication. Wednesday. January 30th, Billie was quick to explain the video saying she is both the monster under her bed and herself in the video. Her exact words;
“When we made ‘Bury a Friend,’ the whole album clicked in my head, I immediately knew what it was going to be about, what the visuals were going to be, and everything in terms of how I wanted it to be perceived… ‘bury a friend,’ is literally from the perspective of the monster under my bed. If you put yourself in that mindset, what is this creature doing or feeling?” regarding the monster she says, “…I also confess that I’m this monster, because I’m my own worst enemy. I might be the monster under your bed too.”
After this scene, the chorus comes back through, which is done as the monster under the bed. We know this visually from her presence under the bed and black eyes but audibly there is a separate voice in tandem with hers that oozes with evilness and that small effect gives so much depth to the narrative. Into the second verse, Billie is steadily battling this internal entity while the video flashes between her being held down by the gloved hands in different areas, along the way her eyes change from normal to completely black symbolizes that she is losing control. Through the bridge and into the refrain she has succumbed to the monster and she no longer stumbles through the hall but has evolved through her toes dragging lifelessly across the hallway to completely floating upside down.
The song ends on the chorus like most songs do but in this case, where the chorus is the monster questioning Billie Eilish’s conscious being, this is brilliant. In the son Billie is no longer present, it’s just the monster and it is asking her or the viewer a series of questions;
“What do you want from me?
Why don’t you run from me?
What are you wondering?
What do you know?
Why aren’t you scared of me?
Why do you care for me?
When we all fall asleep, where do we go?”