I will freely admit that I’ve never paid attention to the Grammy Awards. I used to think they were a kind of heart-shaped candy that American grandmothers hand out to the starving children … until now. That’s the powerful influence of Billie Eilish, who’s the youngest artist (18!) to win the four main Grammy Awards:
BEST NEW ARTIST
As a proud 19-year-old, I am continually startled by the fact that Eilish is younger than me (also, her full name according to Wikipedia — which is, by the way, more reliable than Encyclopedia Britannica according to a source I can’t remember — is Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell which makes her just about one of the coolest people in the world. I wonder if she’s OK with people — not me, definitely not me — pirating her music. It can be about her brand name?! Name brand!?). She’s the same age as many of my fellow classmates and some high school seniors … Man, I always thought success was older than me.
I’m very happy young talent is being recognized. It’s time we work to bridge generational gaps and 2020 can be our starting point.
RECORD OF THE YEAR
“Don’t say thank you or please/I do what I want when I’m wanting to”
My favorite song from Billie Eilish is “Strange Addiction” but I can’t help getting a little “addicted” to “Bad Guy,” a song with a strong catchy beat and lyrics that have a charming braggadocio. It’s brimming over with a knowing confidence, and yet there’s this hollowness behind it — or perhaps, it’s casual detachment?
What I like most about this song is its flippancy. Eilish was 17 when she first performed this, and although I too must admit it’s uncomfortable hearing a minor sing about how she’s the “Might seduce your dad type,” I think the way she plays with the “bad guy” trope, especially as a woman, is not just entertaining but also quite subtle.
SONG OF THE YEAR
I just want to recognize Finneas Eilish (22), who writes and produces for various artists, including his sister. He won Producer of the Year, and it’s good to note that he co-wrote and produced “Bad Guy.” I wish the Eilish siblings nothing but the best for the rest of their careers.
Although the music video for “Bad Guy,” released March 29, 2019 did not, to my knowledge, win anyone a Grammy, I think it reflects one of the key parts of Eilish’s music’s appeal. It’s quirky, honest and despite the lyrics it’s refreshingly non-sexual. I’m kind of tired of the oversexualization of women in media, especially minors, and it warms this old 19-year-old’s heart to see Eilish just rolling around and being herself in the video. She also features Invisalign in the intro, which I find relatable for what you will realize are obvious reasons if you, dear reader, have the misfortune of seeing my teeth up-close.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
The first thing I noticed about the album cover is how comfortable Eilish looks. Sure, her eyes are all whited-out like a zombie’s, but the photo basically shows her sitting, chilling, on a bed. There’s a strong black-and-white contrast, which is a classic aesthetic I’m always a fan of. Like the photo, the music of this album is genuine and rather intimate. Eilish’s soft, whispery, ASMR-like voice gives her a unique sound which I love to listen to. You get the sense that she’s been through a lot, she’s seen so much, and yet she still has an overflow of tenderness and understanding to give to the world without sacrificing herself.
I realize that this article was meant to be about the Grammy Awards, and now this has become Billie Eilish fangirling. To retain my journalistic integrity, here’s my takes on 7empest by Tool, which won Best Metal Performance. I know nothing about metal, so you can trust me to give a fully nonprejudiced opinion on the music. There’s a solid, functioning guitar, which plays multiple chords that come together in an energetic melody. The vocals are much more male than Eilish’s, but the lyrics betray a similar awareness of world politics — or, not politics exactly, but the general confused state of the world which is still reeling from politics, climate change and the sharp turn of the century.
It’s only the first month of 2020 and there’s already so much to celebrate.
Claire Fang | firstname.lastname@example.org