Art of Billie Eilish, framed and surrounded by blue flowers.

‘Lost Cause’ Shows Us a Billie Eilish That Is Happier Than Ever Before

The singer roasts a former lover and celebrates the acceptance stage of grief with a group of girlfriends in her most recent track and music video, both worthy precursors to her upcoming album.

June 11, 2021
10 mins read

Released as the fourth single off her upcoming sophomore album, “Happier Than Ever,” Billie Eilish’s “Lost Cause” and its accompanying music video showcase Eilish treating herself with a girls’ day of fun in order to move on from a failed relationship. Eilish’s transition from an avant-garde album centered on misery and death to one focused on the real and the relatable has escalated fans’ anticipation for the July 30 release, expected to present a happier and more outgoing side to the “Bury a Friend” star. 

The “Lost Cause” track and music video became available for streaming June 2 following Eilish’s prior single release on April 29, “Your Power.” While Eilish describes an abusive relationship and condemns a former lover in “Your Power,” she similarly disapproves of a previous love interest and resolves to reveal the truth about him in “Lost Cause.” 

Beginning with the lyric fragment “something’s in the…,” the three-and-a-half-minute track follows a relaxed beat that persists throughout the song. Eilish’s soft and airy voice complements the tempo and creates the typical dream-like atmosphere most listeners associate with the pop star’s music.

In the first verse of the song, Eilish sings, “You weren’t even there that day / I was waitin’ on you.” Although the specific day that Eilish refers to is left unclear, the singer shares the personal experience of waiting for someone who doesn’t care to show up, acting as the “last straw” for Eilish in the relationship. This ultimate decision is also audible in her voice. Eilish subtly echoes key words such as “time,” “wrong” and “cause,” reiterating the flaws of her former lover that contributed to her unalterable decision to be rid of him. 

Following is the pre-chorus, singing, “I sent you flowers, did you even care?” Here, Eilish slows the pace of the song, inputting more breaths in between words and using her breath support to draw out certain lyrics such as “stairs” and the vocalises “oh” and “ay.”

Eilish then begins the chorus with the line the song derives its title from — “You ain’t nothin’ but a lost cause.” Her use of apocopes in “nothin’,” “losin’” and “waitin’” creates a softer tone and gives Eilish steady control as she smoothly transitions from one word to the next. Additionally, Eilish’s decision to use a double negative in “ain’t nothin” takes a jab at the worthiness, or lack thereof, of her former lover and emphasizes his position as a “lost cause.” 

While the track remains a catchy tune with a cunning bass to back her vocals, Eilish contrasts the lyrics of emotional regret and disdain with an accompanying music video full of cheerful women enjoying a day of dancing and game-playing. In the company of her friends, Eilish has clearly gone from “When the Party’s Over” to a party that’s only just beginning. 

Upholding the “girls just want to have fun” motto, the “Lost Cause” music video features Eilish and a group of girlfriends enjoying everything from dart-throwing to shooting each other with silly string. The squad’s entertaining party, however, is juxtaposed with the jaded emotions Eilish offers in the lyrics.

For example, in the second pre-chorus when Eilish sings the line, “Gave me no flowers, wish I didn’t care,” Eilish and her friends are seen dancing around a mansion and playing with water guns outside. The good time these women happily engage in contrast with the negative emotions that are expressed in the lyrics. Eilish may be saying that friends stick together, and it’s important that we rely on them for support in tough situations, such as the end of a relationship. 

Compared to the “Your Power” music video, the clips in “Lost Cause” are shorter and somewhat choppy, providing a better view of the variety of the squad’s activities. The quick transitions from one activity to the next create a sense of chaotic fun, making it seem that Eilish and her friends enjoy roasting her previous partner. Although “Your Power” is a more vulnerable and sentimental track, justifying why the clips are longer and its subjects more sedentary, “Lost Cause” is emphatically all over the place, creating a spirited ambiance as a consequence of the breakup.

When announcing the release of the music video, Eilish took to Instagram to express that she and her friends “had the time of [their] lives being hot and shooting this.” The star that once had black ooze streaming from her eyes in “When the Party’s Over” and spiders crawling on her face in “You Should See Me in a Crown” now depicts a more relatable persona in “Lost Cause.” 

However, Eilish still hasn’t lost her dark appeal or her ultramodern aesthetic, considering that she recently had a green anaconda wrapped around her neck in “Your Power.” Although Eilish is beginning to incorporate more realistic video settings, she remains the popular avant-garde figure that fans know and love.

As of Tuesday, “Lost Cause” stands at No. 6 on YouTube’s trending music video list. Eilish’s track also ranked No. 15 in the Top 200 list of Spotify Charts with over 2.9 million streams worldwide. “Your Power” had a notably more recognizable standing, however, remaining on Billboard’s charts for six consecutive weeks and later being voted the top favorite new music release in a poll conducted by Billboard the week of April 26.

One reason perhaps behind the latest track’s relatively lower standing is that fans are unfamiliar with this new side to Eilish. From baggy clothes to Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS, and from her signature neon green hair to her natural blonde, Eilish’s new look may be a lot to adjust to for longtime fans. 

However, the last thing Eilish should be focused on is pleasing others with her looks or keeping up a persona just for the benefit of her fans. She is now breaking her mold and making changes that feel right to her. Even if viewers don’t like Eilish’s new image, she continues to stay true to herself and her music, which should be respected.

Regardless of its standing, Eilish’s “Lost Cause” is an empowering track and music video that many who have endured failing relationships can relate to. The video is also Eilish’s reminder to stick close to your friends because they will be there when you need them most — even when it involves messy silly string and dancing on kitchen counters. 

Although Eilish is taking a new direction with her music videos, her songs still move audiences with their passionate themes and empathetic emotions such as heartbreak, rage and dissatisfaction. She shows a happier side to herself in “Lost Cause,” making the track and video great precursors to her upcoming “Happier Than Ever” album. Eilish has set the bar high with four impactful tracks that increase fans’ excitement to see more of Eilish’s free and outgoing side. Eilish has successfully released a relatable track, one that ain’t even close to a lost cause.

Michelle Buckley, Chapman University

Writer Profile

Michelle Buckley

Chapman University
B.F.A. Creative Writing

Michelle Buckley is a rising sophomore at Chapman University and majors in creative writing. Driven by self-expression and motivation to build a community, Buckley hopes to make an impact with her passion for writing.

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