This debut album from 18-year-old Billie Eilish demonstrates an honest maturity that is resonating with teens and young adults around the world. Her brother Finneas O’Connell helped write and produce the album. Most tracks include soft voices and muted instrumentation that complement the introspective themes. Listening to this album can be extremely helpful for parents and church leaders to understand how their youth may be feeling and to empathize with their unique challenges.
First, the music of Billie Eilish is asking questions that many youth and young adults are asking. In “bury a friend” (and the title of the album), the artist explores the existential human question of the afterlife. As North America continues to become a post-Christian society, this is a particularly scary question for youth. Other questions on the album are more practical, such as her song “Xanny,” where she is questioning why teens are so attracted to the drug Xannax.
Second, the music of Billie Eilish embodies a deep sadness that many teens are feeling. As they struggle to find truth and understand their purpose on earth, many are feeling adrift; Billie Eilish’s music connects well with their hopelessness and helplessness. Songs like “bad guy” and “you should see me in a crown” paint humanity as completely broken and evil with no hope of redemption. And “all the good girls go to hell” continues to explore this brokenness from the perspective of a God who’d prefer to partner with the devil because humans are not worth the effort to save. The song ends in complete despair, lamenting that God is thinking, “There's nothing left to save now.”
Why listen to something so bleak? Yes, listening will be uncomfortable and challenging, but parents and church leaders who engage with the music of Billie Eilish will be better equipped to understand their youth and engage in meaningful conversations with them. Hearing pain and empathizing with our youth’s sadness, confusion, and shame can be a loving action we can take. We must be careful to stay anchored to a loving God who shows “his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Rom. 5:8). Our dependence on and confidence in our Savior Jesus can be a beacon of light for those who are desperate for any glimmer of hope. (Interscope)