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Billie Eilish: Blip or Harbinger? #2996952 07/02/19 06:41 AM
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Anderton Offline OP
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Several months ago my kid said that the next big thing would be "weirdness."

I finally saw a Billie Eilish video. It was so weird I had to watch another one. And another one, each one more weird than the last.

It seems entirely plausible that the only way left to beat the pop culture signal-to-noise ratio is by being weird. The next pop trend might be total weirdness - think of how many people rubberneck when there's a car accident. Harnessing that impulse may be the secret of pop music success in the future.

Re: Billie Eilish: Blip or Harbinger? [Re: Anderton] #2997048 07/03/19 12:32 AM
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She's the feature story in EM this month. I was mildly curious to hear her work, but now I'm worried.

dB

Re: Billie Eilish: Blip or Harbinger? [Re: Anderton] #2997053 07/03/19 12:41 AM
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Anderton Offline OP
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Have you seen any of her videos?






Re: Billie Eilish: Blip or Harbinger? [Re: Anderton] #2997056 07/03/19 12:50 AM
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I like that she's her own thing, with (this may sound weird) a throwback to torch singers. Takes a little getting used to for sure, and some of her videos are pretty disturbing. It's hard to project what kind of trajectory her career will have. Wouldn't surprise me if in a couple years she took the bucks, and then said screw it...like how Brigitte Bardot just said "screw it" in 1973, became an animal rights activist, and funded a foundation for same by auctioning off her jewelry and possessions.

Re: Billie Eilish: Blip or Harbinger? [Re: Anderton] #2997058 07/03/19 01:16 AM
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She may last a little longer as well, her fan base is INCREDIBLY devoted - I know a few of them and she is revered. That said, the half-life of 'successful' artists grows shorter by the month so who knows...

Re: Billie Eilish: Blip or Harbinger? [Re: nursers] #2997081 07/03/19 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by nursers
She may last a little longer as well, her fan base is INCREDIBLY devoted - I know a few of them and she is revered.


Why do you think that is?

My take is that for an artist to blow up this fast, it's more than the music. It's kind of a disturbing world on many levels, but I think that in general, the parents of that demographic don't admit it. So maybe her fans can identify with someone who is being pulled down, and chronicling it, while presenting it as life-as-we-know-it. She's speaking for a lot of people. I think part of me might be included smile

Quote
That said, the half-life of 'successful' artists grows shorter by the month so who knows...


Ain't that the truth. Remember Taylor Swift? Katy Perry? I don't think they're selling out stadiums any more, but I could be wrong.

I don't think it's so much the fault of the artists as a society that isn't interested in following people over the arc of a career. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have as many YouTube subscribers as I do, given that I first started playing concerts 58 years ago.

Re: Billie Eilish: Blip or Harbinger? [Re: Anderton] #2997090 07/03/19 11:03 AM
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I did the "radio station music director" thing on those videos and I never really got to the songs. I didn't like her voice and style. She'd have to be the next Bob Dylan of Neil Young in order to be more than a smash hit on Twitter.

Re: Billie Eilish: Blip or Harbinger? [Re: Anderton] #2997244 07/04/19 12:58 PM
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Craig - you nailed the 'why' perfectly - she speaks to a demographic that otherwise may not connect with a bunch of other artists.

Re: Billie Eilish: Blip or Harbinger? [Re: Anderton] #2997393 07/05/19 08:35 PM
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I don't think Ellish's videos are any weirder than what I have seen from Animal Collective or Fever Ray.

I've been to two Animal Collective shows and both concerts were packed with a mostly 20-something year old crowd. Particularly weird is as the band ages, the audience doesn't seem to age with them - more kids just join the ranks.

Fever Ray is best known for the Vikings TV show opening theme.

Both acts have been around for years before Billie Ellish

Re: Billie Eilish: Blip or Harbinger? [Re: GovernorSilver] #2997394 07/05/19 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by GovernorSilver
I don't think Ellish's videos are any weirder than what I have seen from Animal Collective or Fever Ray.

I've been to two Animal Collective shows and both concerts were packed with a mostly 20-something year old crowd. Particularly weird is as the band ages, the audience doesn't seem to age with them - more kids just join the ranks.

Fever Ray is best known for the Vikings TV show opening theme.

Both acts have been around for years before Billie Ellish


Good point. I hadn't heard of Fever Ray (what can I say? I spend more time making music than listening to it), so thanks for turning me on to that. I guess my kid was right, weirdness is a trend.

I also wouldn't really consider Fever Ray EDM, even though it's electronic. It seems more like hip-hop influenced electronics, but is definitely unique. I even think some of it is actually quite beautiful, and I like that the material is highly varied from one cut to the next.

However, I couldn't help but laugh when the ad YouTube placed over the video was for a Fender Telecaster smile I think they may need to do better demographic research.

Last edited by Anderton; 07/05/19 08:43 PM.
Re: Billie Eilish: Blip or Harbinger? [Re: Anderton] #2997399 07/05/19 09:25 PM
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My then-roommate (now bandmate) turned me on to Fever Ray, and pointed out who sang the Vikings TV theme ("If I had a heart"). She also told me about Fever Ray's eccentric, to say the least, award acceptance speech. BTW, I had no idea Carrie Brownstein was contributing to NPR. Then again, I thought she was just a comedian on "Portlandia" - no idea of her place in rock history either:

https://www.npr.org/sections/monitormix/2010/01/fever_rays_amazing_acceptance.html

Youtube's algorithms for ads and recommendations are interesting. Apparently, it was a recommendation algorithm that turned "Plastic Love", an 80's "city pop" Japanese single, into a worldwide hit last year. When I first saw it on my Youtube feed, I thought it was because one of my J-pop loving friends did something. The singer, Mariya Takeuchi had never thought of marketing her music outside of Japan.

For those who haven't already heard that tune, here it is.


Re: Billie Eilish: Blip or Harbinger? [Re: Anderton] #2997657 07/08/19 02:48 PM
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I had heard about Eilish, but never really "heard" her work. When first watching some of these videos, I was hit with the "weird" aspect you brought up, and wasn't really thrilled with them. But I decided to listen without watching, and it took on a different light. Sure, some of it wasn't what I dig, and would be considered "weird" and not even great performance; but some of it wasn't bad. I wanted to dislike it, but really can't.

Wasn't Bjork hailed as both weird AND a genius? I get a sense of that, with some Tori Amos elements, too. She CAN sing, but not in a strong way. When quieter, she can carry a tune quite well.

A lot of the subject matter is dark, but then again so is Porcupine Tree, whom I like. I listen to a lot of progressive rock, and well, you have to push the envelope some to be progressing, right? King Crimson is weird at times, too.

That said, will she be a long-standing hit? I hate to say "no", but in this climate, that is most likely. I'd like to see her develop and see if she has both the writing and performing strength to be more than a flash in the pan.


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Re: Billie Eilish: Blip or Harbinger? [Re: Danzilla] #2997713 07/08/19 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Danzilla
I'd like to see her develop and see if she has both the writing and performing strength to be more than a flash in the pan.


The culture moves too fast for that to happen, unless she can re-invent herself a) effectively, b) honestly, and c) in a way the public wants. That's not easy, although in different times, both Madonna and Bowie were able to do it.

Re: Billie Eilish: Blip or Harbinger? [Re: Anderton] #2997818 07/09/19 05:46 PM
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It's really the one artist my teen girls listen to that I can enjoy (they are both heavy into hip hop normally). And I like her as a person, at least what I know of her through interviews and writing.

On a slightly related note, that reimagining of "Head Like a Hole" by Miley Cyrus for the Black Mirror series (which is so incredibly meta that it boggles the mind) got my kids to listen to NIN. So there was a serious positive outcome in that.


"For instance" is not proof.

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