After Billie Eilish unveiled her new blonde bombshell look, complete with custom designer corsets and suspender belts, on the June cover of British Vogue, it seemed she was shrugging off her baggy clothes and half green hair in favour of a new style. One would assume a change of sound would follow suit, coinciding with the release of her sophomore album Happier Than Ever later this month.
While NDA’s predecessor Lost Cause was accompanied by an upbeat and wild slumber party music video, Eilish has returned to her sadcore roots for NDA. The tonally dark and moody video, featuring glitchy frames and stunt drivers in fast cars, swerving dangerously close to Eilish as she wanders a road, is as jarring as the lyrics.
Tackling the negative aspects of her fame, Eilish whisper-sings her struggles with stalkers, confidentiality and anonymity. Eilish currently has a restraining order against a man who has been caught peering into her property and harassing her, which explains why Eilish dejectedly drawls that she “had to save my money for security” and “I can barely go outside.” Incongruously, Eilish looks and sounds far from happier.
Produced and written by only Eilish and her brother Finneas, NDA isn’t a drastic change for the duo. Her fans will be content with the return to and honing of her dark pop style. The music arrangement of the first verse is minimal, with a deep, palpable bass a mainstay throughout, and Eilish offering some echoing backing vocals. As it ends and the beat drop begins, the arrangement and vocal auto-tuning really picks up; it’s sonically both cool and creepy. It’s reminiscent of The Weeknd’s sound, especially Blinding Lights and its similarly car-centred music video.
The verses are more sluggish, but NDA progresses into the perfect dark and atmospheric song for driving down the freeway at night, bass blaring in the background. Hopefully Happier Than Ever reveals further experimentation from Eilish.