I feel sad when you are sad. I feel happy when she is happy. I feel angry when she is angry, ”writes a fan of Billie Eilish, 13-year-old Amelia, on Instagram. The hard core of the fans of the eighteen-year-old singer-songwriter are the Gen Z-ers, teenagers between 13 and 17 years, for the majority girls, much more mature than the age can reveal. A bit like their heroine, who at 17 made her debut with “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”.
The album, released last March, reached number one in America, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. It has become the best-selling debut album in America in the last ten years (both among men, women and groups) with over 313 thousand copies in the first week of publication. To date it has totaled over 24 billion streams worldwide. Not only that: Billie Eilish is officially the first artist born in this millennium to have reached both position n. 1 of the records that of the singles and is the third female artist in the last 31 years with more songs on the top of the Billboard Alternative Songsairplay chart (together with Alanis Morrissette and Sinead O’Connor).
To understand this fulminating rise, just peek through the letters of the fans. “Billie’s songs often tell stories or express feelings that I had difficulty understanding,” writes Saima, a 13-year-old Danish woman, who said that the music of the singer-songwriter from Los Angeles helped her to overcome a difficult moment. This emotional connection is a common thread between all fans who send messages from Italy to Australia.
“Her lyrics are so raw and true, they help me get through good and bad times,” writes 15-year-old Australian Joelie. “I am a warm hug and they taught me not to worry about what others think and instead of being myself.” Because the girl from “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” Not only reinvented pop with her threatening rap, but also upset the pop star’s canons. Fluo, oversize, baggie, exaggerated, “without gender”, it has torn down the combination of the good girl-bad girl of pop, giving life to a generation of young female stars who have no intention of conforming to the ideas of adults on models for Young people. She, like Kurt Cobain’s Nirvana, belongs to that rare kind of artist who every two-three decades redefines the rules of the game and the collective imagination, crumbling the certainties of music marketing. The first rule that Billie has subverted in a handful of months is that to break through at 17 it is not essential to be a sexy teenager with the silhouette of an ordinance, perhaps branded from head to toe and covered with make up.
“It represents the antithesis of the pop generation that many kids grew up with,” says designer Samantha Burkhart. From the total lack of sexuality in its aesthetic to the heavy use of horror visual elements in its music videos, Eilish is ushering in a new era in pop.
“Billie doesn’t care about anyone’s opinion,” writes a 13-year-old Belgian fan. “Wear what you want and don’t care about people who speak badly of you.” “I love Billie’s style,” adds Megan, a seventeen-year-old from Michigan. “It invites me to be myself and wear what I want.” In her lyrics, the singer-songwriter seems to touch the collective desire of the generation of post #MeToo girls, to take control and be directors of their creativity.
Billie Eilish’s music – full of contradictions: sweet but dramatic, childish and mature at the same time – is the soundtrack of this complicated new millennium. Appointment for July 17, 2020 at the MIND Milano Innovation District – Expo Area, when the world tour of the new pop star will also stop in Italy with a single event.
THIS IS THE TOP20 OF 2019:
1.Billie Eilish – “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”
2. Nick Cave – “Ghosteen”
A masterpiece of poetry and music with which the artist elaborates mourning through the imagination.
3. La Municipàl – “Bellissimi Difetti”
The Apulian band formed by the brothers Carmine and Isabella Tundo is the Italian surprise. Ivan’s funeral leave their mark.
4. Giovanni Truppi – “Poetry and civilization”
As in the case of La Municipàl, this album is also a demonstration that you can make music without being banal, addressing social and political issues.
5. Bruce Springsteen – “Western Stars”
Some critics have “branded” him as a cowboy record. Mistaken. It is unquestionably one of Bruce’s most intimate, intense and reflective. As in his 1982 masterpiece, “Nebraska”, Springsteen focuses more on the voice. And on words.
6. Sam Fender – “Hypersonic Missiles”
The 24-year-old from the working-class is a rare talent. The rock America of the Boss and Tom Petty moved to Newcastle.
7. Cesare Basile – “Cummeddia” Difficult
songs, Basile continues the process of drying up the music. The eleven tracks are talkin ‘blues that mix Sicily with desert blues and Mississippi blues, bluegrass and electronics.
8. Big Thief – “Two hands”
The Brooklyn band’s second album of the year is more earthly than “UFOF”, the bright collection that arrived in the spring. Here they sing about death and illness, elementary concerns that nevertheless reach a sort of upper level thanks to the tenacious, cracked songwriting that is rapidly affirming them as Brooklyn’s answer to Crazy Horse.
9. Caleidø – “Make silence”
The Misterbianco band rides the indie-pop wave: between the lines you can see the portrait of a generation poised between melancholy and despair, a sense of confusion and emptiness.
10. Mario Venuti – “Soyuz 10”
Nostalgia for a new world, made of sounds, words and feelings of the past. The album is a sort of manifesto of an artist who can perhaps be called the last of the old and the first of the new songwriters.
11. Luca Madonia – “The pyramid”
Among the echoes of the Denovo and the Beatles, it is a dip in the musical atmospheres of the sixties in the company of many friends. A sound journey with great class and elegance.
12. Felice Marsili De Medici – “Aut de Gamme”
Battisti and Luigi Tenco, the songwriter-indie and Ennio Morricone, Manu Chao and South America, blues and waltzes, Cesare Basile and punk folk, cowboys and Indians. There is all this in Felice Briguglio’s album in Catania, aka “Felice Marsili De Medici”.
13. Partinico Rose – “Songs for Sad and Angry People”
After talented nuns and meteors, a voice out of the chorus finally arrives from Ragusa. A powerful wall of guitars, a voice that recalls Robert Smith of Cure, an explicit language (English), strong-colored interpretations, a rock album played with grit and cleanliness.
14. Fontaines DC – “Dogrel”
The image of the Dublin band is as vivid and impetuous as Joyce’s visions. Songs of a rude, swaggering and cheerful beauty, but even the ballads are equally good, with a piano-pub sadness.
15. The Murder Capital – “When I Have Fears”
The other post-punk success story of Dublin with Fontaines DC, in The Murder Capital there is still a touch of lyricism. Beyond the metronome garage-rock, frontman James McGovern seems to be writing a Gothic novel.
16. Iggy Pop – “Free”
The sensational turn of the Iguana, which flirts with jazz like the David Bowie of “Blackstar” and with the poetry of Lou Reed. A melancholic, bitter, twilight disc for the survivor of the “sacred triangle” of rock
17. Mannequin Pussy – “Patience”
For their first album with the legendary pop-punk label Epitaph Records, the Philadelphia quartet blends punk trash with melodic, great hymns of anguish and regret. Listening to the singer Marisa Dabice grinning, crying, wincing and roaring in “Drunk II” means entering her shattered psyche. He sings with a ferocity rarely listened to in the easy listening playlist of the current indie; his presence practically vibrates the whole band.
18. Purple Mountains – Purple Mountains
Stories of depression and despair are easier to take with full knowledge of the happy ending. “Purple Mountains”, ” David Berman’s latest album, released twenty-six days before taking his own life at the age of 52, does not offer this luxury. Several songs – “The dead know what they are doing when they leave this world behind”, from “Nights That Won’t Happen”, or “There is no way to last here so long” from “All My Happiness Is Gone” – seem to point to what would have happened. Hearing them now is emotionally overwhelmed.
19. FKA Twigs – “Magdalene”
The British singer-songwriter, musician and dancer alternates between a painful falsetto and a tight, scratchy voice, full of regret. “Cellophane” is an extraordinary song.
20. Celeste – “Compilation 1.1”
Jamaican blood, born in Brighton, in his voice full of feeling and moving we hear those of Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. Paul Weller called her to his court. His name is Celeste, the rising star of British new wave jazz.