The Deceptive Warmth in “everything i wanted”

Billie Eilish conceals a vicious edge to an otherwise effervescent production

We’re in 2020 now, and things aren’t so bright anymore. The world is burning.

I wish I could say I looked back fondly on the early and mid ’10s, when all we heard was the crystalline sugary offerings Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, but I really don’t. It was a fun sound, and a fun time, but so hedonistic and grating. Now, we’ve moved past that, and our radiowaves are dominated by artists like Billie Eilish. Her latest release “everything i wanted” is a nice alternative to her 2019 hits like “bad guy” and “you should see me in a crown”.

Unlike her previous, this song is warm, atmospheric and soothing, yet biting in its lyrical imagery. You almost feel like it’s a lullaby, until you realize that the artist is contemplating some dark stuff. Billie is another young artist whose complex and self-assured vocal range reveals a talent far beyond her age. The song explores what it would mean to realize the impossible, through a dream described as if ‘her head were underwater.’ But in the chorus, she speaks to an unknown partner who offers security and a sense of safety. ‘If I could change the way that you see yourself,’ she whispers to her partner, as though each serves as the other’s last and only anchor in the surrounding, escalating storm.

This song nails the sort of complexity you want to see from an artist coming out of a breakthrough year. She is showing herself to be capable of much more than one or two hits. When I first heard it, I had no idea it was the same playful and bass-driven vocalist we heard in ‘bad guy.’ There’s a kind of mystery laced through the song, and as it dances between dream and reality,  we’re never quite sure if it is the dream which is more real. And yes, when you consider the surreality and off-kilter colors of the world in the video, we realize that the dream may in fact be Billie’s dominant reality. ‘I kind of thought you might care’ she sings, as we picture her falling, falling, falling deeper and deeper into the distance.

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