Saturday ACL Fest 2019 Record Reviews

Billie Eilish

When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (Darkroom / Interscope Records)

Saturday ACL Fest 2019 Record Reviews

Like a comet, Billie Eilish's hype with viral single "Ocean Eyes" seemed fleeting, burning white-hot into the stratosphere. Yet this meteoric and confident debut crash lands into pop's landscape and renders its bubblegum topography a hellish teenage wasteland. Under a white-hood glare and manic grin, the Los Angeles singer lurches into a sleep paralysis haunt where distorted bass convulsions grind against needling, pin-drop synths ("You Should See Me in a Crown"). The 17-year-old sensation takes pop iconography and musical status quo and lacerates it, opting out of femme fatale for tomboy cargos and goth macabre, and sleek soundscapes for creepy eccentrics. In "Bury a Friend," beats shift like tectonic plates as her voice crawls like an exorcised demon, whereas lucid dream "Xanny" coalesces bass blowouts. She even flips the LP's most archetypal pop moments on their head in "When the Party's Over" and "8." For the former, an elegant ballad transforms into a solemn eulogy, wherein the latter's ukulele shimmer couples with an eerie timbre recalling the twins in The Shining. (Saturday, 6pm, Honda stage)

****

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