Precocious is a beautiful word. Its shush sound is both warning and invitation — to be quiet, listen, and just pay attention for a moment or two. Perhaps not with a full Simone Weil unit (henceforth known as SW7). But at least turn off the damn phone!
Getting closer to the point, but some house-cleaning first: Yeah, I’m pretty late to the dance on this one, at least writing about her. Am embarrassed to admit I first bumped into her songs via an Apple commercial. And so much has happened since that time, to her, to me, to all of us. One would have thought, for instance, that time itself would slow down during a pandemic, but, no. Careers still rise and fall, awards are given, artists become old hat, too popular, overplayed, while others languish in various obscurities they fall into or design themselves. Neon lights and big old stages. Caves. Hermits. Get off my lawn!
Moving a little closer. I know this should be a given, but it’s really not. Young people have feelings too, he said with just the right amount of high dudgeon. If one is an old codger, of any age, without that special young-at-heart thing going on, they might well dismiss the thoughts, angst, or periodic elation of a fifteen-year-old singer, or anyone else, for that matter, outside their tribe. This is all too human, for some.
But here she is, Billie Eilish, all of 15 when the song below came out, and it’s beautifully sad, full of authentic doubt, vulnerability and surprising insight. The lyrics turn the dreamy, lush sounds on their head, and I hear a mix of Motown, Sinatra, and someone who should be too young to do that, to be that wise. Her performance in the video — simple, direct, understated — just adds to the overall unicorn effect.
I don’t know her music well enough yet to say, “This is my favorite,” but I’m a fan. It’s also a bit intimidating to think she was born in 2001 and already has a sizable oeuvre to choose from.
As The Who sang, back in 1965, the kids are alright.