Billie Eilish isn’t one for leaving her emotions out of her music. In fact, the 17-year-old skyrocketed to popularity with her debut album, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, because of her ability to relate so well to her audience on an emotional level.
In her latest single, “everything i wanted,” that hasn’t changed. This piano driven, ethereal pop tune focuses on the deep, inner thoughts of Eilish as she recalls a nightmare involving suicide and questions her own value and self-worth.
Billie Eilish is no stranger to dark songs that touch on themes of suicide and depression. Some of that darkness shows up here, too. But while this entire track is influenced by a horrific nightmare, it still grasps at human connection as the only form of hope.
Billie shares that she “had a dream” where “I got everything I wanted.” But she’s not talking about material possessions. Nope. She’s talking about death. In her dream, Billie jumps from the Golden Gate Bridge (“stepped off the Golden”) and sees that no one cares that she’s dead (“Nobody cried/Nobody even noticed/I saw them standing right there/Kinda thought they might care”).
The second verse gives us still more grim details about the dark dream: “I tried to scream/But my head was underwater/They called me weak/Like I’m not somebody’s daughter.”
Obviously, there’s a lot going on inside Billie Eilish’s head. And it doesn’t help that she feels immense pressure to perform for her fans, all while struggling with mental health issues: “But I don’t wanna let anybody know/’Cause everybody wants something from me now/And I don’t want to let ‘em down.”
And although Billie suggests that death would be a welcome escape, she clings to the relationship with her beloved brother, Finneas, as a source of light and hope in her darkest times: “And you say, ‘As long as I’m here, no one can hurt you.” He also tells her, “If I could change the way that you see yourself/You wouldn’t wonder why you hear, ‘They don’t deserve you.’”
In an interview with Annie Mac from BBC Radio One, Billie talked further about Finneas and how his faithfulness inspired this song.
“Pretty much that whole song is about me and Finneas’ relationship as siblings. We started writing it because I literally had a dream that I killed myself and nobody cared and all of my best friends and people that I worked with basically came out in public and said, like, “Oh, we never liked her.” In the dream, the fans didn’t care. The internet s— on me for killing myself, all this stuff, and it really did mess me up.”
She adds that even though she wrestles with unsettling thoughts and nightmares, she finds hope in her belief that he’ll always be there to help her: “I have these dreams and these things happen, and no matter what happens, he’s gonna always be there for me, and it’s the same the other way around.”
This is a heavy tune, one with a core message that might not be immediately apparent at first listen. In fact, a superficial listening may make it sound as if Billie Eilish is somehow glorifying suicide. She’s not. But it’s once again very clear that this talented young artist struggles deeply with her own metaphorical demons. And while her confessions about them here might be encouraging for some, they might also be damaging for others.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).