Eilish's style, both in music and in fashion, is incredibly singular, which can inspire animosity from her critics. (Illustration by Julianna Renk, University of California, Berkeley)
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Eilish’s music might not be for everyone, but it’s also not required listening.

Billie Eilish is an indie-pop star who is quickly rising on the charts for her pop hits. Eilish originally gained a following in 2016 when she released her first single, “Ocean Eyes,” on SoundCloud. She then quickly caught the attention of a record label and released her debut EP, “Don’t Smile At Me,” in 2017, which included a track, “Bellyache,” that quickly rose to the top of both U.S. and Canadian music charts.

Eilish’s debut album, “When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” released on March 29. At 17 years old, she is the first artist born in the 2000s to have a No. 1 album in the United States. In the few years that she has been on the radar, she has certainly had a decorated career.

As Eilish began to gain more popularity in 2019, many threads and memes around the internet have circulated making fun of her. Celebrities and artists are teased daily on the internet, but most of this content circulates around the fact that Eilish lacks talent and makes fun of her aesthetic.

This is just another instance where individuals jump on the bandwagon because it is an easier option. From their perspective, it is far easier to stand on a pedestal and mock Eilish and her music than it is to openly admit to being a fan. This is often demonstrated by people that were fans of her early on in her career, but no longer wish to identify themselves as fans because the experience supposedly is tainted once their favorite artists become mainstream.

This type of behavior frequents pop artists; it was prevalent early in Justin Bieber’s career as fans mocked his high-pitched voice. However, as people try to criticize Eilish, their arguments are filled with a lot of holes.

One of the largest dilemmas listeners have with Eilish is that they hate the tone of her music; they claim to hate the sad aura that her music portrays. She definitely leans more toward the indie side of pop, where this type of tone is very common. In a music industry where most of the top pop music is very happy and upbeat, this can put some people off

If listeners aren’t a fan of the indie tone of Eilish’s music, I think it’s more reasonable to make a claim that they simply aren’t a fan of indie. A person that hates rock music isn’t going to like listening to Aerosmith or Led Zeppelin, so the same can’t be expected of Eilish. She’s just a more alternative artist that happened to skyrocket and make the charts, saturating an arena that is typically bubblegum pop.

This aura of sorrow and hopelessness translates over to her public image, particularly with her wardrobe. Eilish frequently rocks baggy clothes and messy hair, which she says is a look inspired by rapper Tyler, the Creator in an interview with ssense.

Earlier in 2019, Eilish appeared in an advert for Calvin Klein where she revealed a deeper reasoning behind her baggy outfits. “I’m really different from a lot of people, and I kind of try to be. I don’t like to follow the rules at all,” she said. “I’ve always worn what I wanted to and always said what I wanted to say.”

A lot of people seem to think that this persona is all an act, and they grow irritated from the young artist’s lack of authenticity. However, I think Eilish’s ability to disregard what others think about her is what made her such a star. That type of attitude allows for nothing to stand in her way in terms of career strides. Without a care in the world for other people’s opinions, she flourishes, and will only continue to do so in the future.

That type of success is also attributed to her immense amount of talent. At such a young age, Eilish has already mastered the art of crafting lyrics that her audience can relate to. At the same rate, she executes these lyrics perfectly with ethereal vocals and a husky, slurring voice that is almost hypnotic to listen to.

With her vocals and early success, she is almost parallel with Lorde, who reached huge milestones early on in her lifetime. Listeners aren’t being faced with some factory-produced pop machine, they’re being faced with an actual artist with emotions.

Those emotions are depicted very clearly in her lyrics, written by Eilish and her brother, Finneas. Their song-writing process is very unique. While Eilish somehow manages to easily grasp her audience with relatable lyrics, she said in an interview with Paper Magazine that half of the situations in her songs are fictional. “We try to write what everyone is thinking but no one says,” she said. “We try to be really interesting with the lyrics and really conversational.”

In terms of critiquing her artistry, that is certainly allowed and encouraged. Artists can only grow with criticism, and we as listeners are obliged to give our opinions on music, positive or not. Not everyone is a fan of every single artist. There will be certain artists that don’t suit their interests, and for some, Eilish might be one of them. That being said, there is a difference between simply not liking an artist and going out of your way to bash their character and music.

The easiest solution when there is an artist you don’t favor? Don’t listen to their music. If the argument is that you “can’t escape it” because of the top charts on the radio, switch the station. There are thousands of other stations that don’t play Eilish’s music, simply because they focus on different genres. There is a phone in your pocket that can play any music of your choosing. With today’s technology, listeners can stroll along peacefully without listening to any artist whom they dislike.

Hate and mockery aside, Eilish is going to continue to thrive. With a recent album release, it is unclear what her immediate future is going to hold in terms of a tour or future music releases. In the meantime, hating on Eilish is not a personality trait. You aren’t any “cooler” for disliking her, just like how you weren’t cool when you hated on other pop stars years before. Hit the skip button.

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