Arts & CultureCultural Affairs

Billie Eilish releases third album ‘HIT ME HARD AND SOFT’

Eilish is back and better than ever with a sonically fresh and mature third studio album.

Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell return as an unstoppable force on Eilish’s latest studio album, HIT ME HARD AND SOFT. This record is Eilish’s biggest debut ever, surpassing her critically acclaimed album, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?. The production immediately differentiates this album from the rest of her discography. Despite Eilish working with O’Connell to produce all of her albums, the duo managed to create music that is sonically interesting and fresh.

Eilish’s vocals float delicately over the stellar production in the intro track “SKINNY.” Thematically, Eilish reflects upon her experience with fame. However, the song struggles greatly in its lyricism. As one of the biggest pop stars of this generation, she is speaking on a reality that is completely foreign to the everyday person. Surely there is something more profound to describe her situation than “I’m a bird in a cage / A dog in a dog pound.” Despite Eilish’s insistence upon clichés, the song is redeemed by its outro. “SKINNY” closes with a breathtaking string arrangement. The outro seamlessly sails the record along to the upbeat song “LUNCH,” which has a killer baseline and catchy lyrics. 

CHIHIRO” is easily my favourite track on this album. The song leans heavily into house music with yet another hypnotic bass line, equally entrancing lyrics, and a magnificent arpeggiated synth build up. Eilish’s vocals are outstanding on this track. She moves from soft spoken and breathy singing to shouting against the intense bridge. It’s clear that Eilish knows how to leverage her vocal range. This song is named after the protagonist of the Studio Ghibli film, Spirited Away. It is not easy to live up to the high standard this film has set, but Eilish manages to capture the magnificence of Spirited Away in the intense, all consuming outro of “CHIHIRO.”

Again, we see Billie’s love for clichés in “BIRDS OF A FEATHER.” While the clichés are out of place amongst the serious musings in “SKINNY,” I will admit that it works quite effectively in this glittery, upbeat song.

The grandiose production in the beginning and end of “BITTERSUITE” perfectly encapsulates the enormity of this album. The outro track, “BLUE,” is a reimagined version of Eilish’s previously unreleased songs, “True Blue” and “Born Blue.” This song is really three in one. The first part ties in lyrics from previous songs on the album. The second section takes a dramatic shift back into Eilish’s soft spoken vocal style. Finally, the song transitions to pitched down talk-singing with a catchy flow.

“But when can I hear the next one?” is the last lyric in “BLUE.” This has caused fans to speculate that Eilish is teasing another release, but isn’t she actually teasing this response? HIT ME HARD AND SOFT is by far my favourite project by Eilish. Although Eilish is only 22, this album demonstrates a maturity that only comes from years of growth and reflection. For this reason, the closing line of “BLUE” reads to me as Eilish criticizing consumers who demand release after release, rather than taking the time to appreciate the effort that goes into creating an album as riveting as this one.

Sanjeet Sandhu

Sanjeet Sandhu is the 2024-25 Summer Deputy Arts & Culture Editor.

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