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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

Review: “HIT ME HARD AND SOFT” by Billie Eilish

Eilish’s third LP is a masterclass in alt-pop.
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Image by Ava Weinreis
“HIT ME HARD AND SOFT” shows Eilish flourishing creatively throughout its 10-song tracklist.

Billie Eilish is now three for three — the pop trailblazer’s third album “HIT ME HARD AND SOFT” is immersive, meditative and has no songs worth skipping.

Eilish continues to prove that she is one of the most exciting artists in modern pop on her third LP as she takes her sound in a new direction.

Her new album, once again produced by her older brother Finneas, sounds jarringly different from her last two albums. For some, this change might take some time to get used to, but if you let the album’s rich atmosphere grow on you, it will prove to be an incredibly rewarding experience.

The album’s tone is embodied by its opening track “SKINNY,” where Eilish sings beautifully over a gentle instrumental. The track packs an emotional punch toward the end with its orchestral string section from the Attacca Quartet.

On this album, Eilish incorporates orchestral arrangements into several songs, one of the many examples of creative growth she presents on the record. Eilish’s vocals paired with cello, violin and viola feel like a match made in heaven.

The lead single for Eilish’s new album, “LUNCH,” is the apex of energy on the LP and is already a strong contender for song of the summer. Eilish’s lyrics express her sexuality, as she details an intense crush on a woman in this lustful banger.

“LUNCH” is arguably out of place on the album because of its high energy, but it will surely satiate Eilish fans who prefer danceable songs to mellow ballads. Regardless, it is one of the album’s best songs.

The album’s hot streak continues with track 3, titled “CHIHIRO,” where Eilish shows off her vocal range by singing expertly in falsetto over the chorus. The song is a prime example of Eilish and Finneas’ incredible use of dynamics in their songwriting, as the otherwise chill track hits an emotional peak when loud, pulsating synths come in halfway through.

Eilish and Finneas showcase their ability to make a catchy song while still fitting perfectly with the album’s sonic direction on “BIRDS OF A FEATHER.” The song’s chorus is light and understated but still very catchy as Eilish sings, “Birds of a feather, we should stick together, I know / I said I’d never think I wasn’t better alone / Can’t change the weather, might not be forever / But if it’s forever, it’s even better.”

Along with “LUNCH,” expect “BIRDS OF A FEATHER” to have repetitive power on the charts this summer.

One of the most striking moments on the album is the beginning of “L’AMOUR DE MA VIE,” where Eilish starts by singing in a lower register than what her audience is used to — another example of her vocal performances getting even stronger over the years. Halfway through the song, there is an amazing beat switch accented by bright ‘80s-style synths as Eilish sings in autotune, a tool she has used conservatively but methodically in her work.

Out of all 10 songs on the album, “THE DINER” leans into Eilish’s edgy image the most, recalling some of the sinisterness of her debut album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”

On this track, she sings from the perspective of one of her stalkers: “I memorized your number, now I call you when I please / I tried to end it all, but now I’m back up on my feet / I saw you in the car with someone else and couldn’t sleep / If something happens to him, you can bet that it was me.”

One of the strengths of the album’s latter half is the stunning beat switches on several tracks. Second to last in the track list, “BITTERSUITE” stands out as it has two different beat switches, both of which are remarkable.

While some have suggested that Eilish and Finneas over-relied on beat switches on this album, there is no denying that they make several songs more powerful by taking them to the next level.

Like she did on her debut album, Eilish wraps up everything with a bow on the closing track “BLUE,” as she sings lyrical callbacks to the other nine songs on the album. On top of it being a fantastic closer, Eilish gives one of her most moving vocal performances on the album.

“HIT ME HARD AND SOFT” is another stunning album from Eilish. She tops the vocal performances on her last two albums and expertly displays her personal and creative growth throughout the 10-song tracklist. With three amazing albums under her belt, it is clearer than ever that Eilish has cemented her place among the greatest artists in modern music.

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  • Gina
    Jun 12, 2024 at 12:51 pm

    Great review! I also thought LUNCH was out of place at first, but after re-listening I think it fits right in with L’AMOUR DE MA VIE and THE DINER, which are also on the faster side with more of a beat.