The Concealed Colors behind “Everything I Wanted”

The Concealed Colors behind “Everything I Wanted”

By:
11/25/2019

Last November, Vanity Fair published this video comparing two interviews with Billie Eilish conducted one year apart from each other, before and after fame had taken her life by storm. This year, a third addition to this video was promised, and it’s no surprise that Eilish’s fans were getting impatient. Because of what can only be explained as editing delays, Vanity Fair postponed the video and some claim it will be released  next month. To console her fans, Eilish released a song last week, titled “everything i wanted.”

At first listen, the meaning of the song is ambiguous. Eilish starts by stating she “had a dream” but in reality it was a nightmare, and she then woke up to an anonymous “you” who warmed her with their presence. A day after the release, Eilish spoke to Beats 1’s Zane Lowe about the song and said, “It’s me talking about how sometimes, everything you wanted is not about everything you actually should.” Essentially, Eilish revealed the song is about her brother Finneas, and how he has never left her side despite the chaos that fame has brought to her life. Finneas and Billie’s bond is apparent to anyone who has seen them live, or even checked the credits to her music: Her brother produces and co-writes her songs, but has also toured with her for the past two years. Still, the song takes on more than one dimension, even alluding to the mean comments directed at Billie in the line, “If they knew what they said would go straight to my head, what would they say instead?”

The production and melody of the song are very typical of Eilish’s style, with many fans remarking on its similarity to “ilomilo,” the eleventh track of her debut album WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? (2019) The rhythm of the song is driven by a soft beat and a simple piano melody. The vocals are also typical of Eilish’s approach: They are quiet and airy—a good example of why Pitchfork recently called Eilish an icon of ASMR. Finneas can also be heard backing her vocals, similar to the track “i love you.” From a musical standpoint, the track could have easily been on her debut album. 

 While the artwork might look like an abstract expressionist painting, fans have speculated it’s a drawing of the Golden Gate bridge, relating to the line “I stepped off the Golden.” In that reference, the song alludes to death through suicide, as many of Eilish’s songs do through gloomy imagery.  Yet, what distinguishes this track from the rest of Eilish’s discography is the hope disguised behind the pure sadness. The artwork might represent a sad place, but it is colored is sweet pastels. And even though the song is about the struggles brought on by fame, it is still a love song to her sibling. After all the melancholy she’s sung about, Billie Eilish might be ready to counter her dark aesthetic with a glimmer of hope.

Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

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Rachelle Bonja


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