Highly anticipated, about to be publicly analysed from every conceivable angle and probably cued up to win some significant awards, the sophomore LP from Billie Eilish is here. Lyrically it’s personal, upfront and at times even combative while musically ‘Happier Than Ever’ is warm and broadly mellow in tone. Balancing meeting expectations with openness and humility with moments that forcefully defy them, ‘Happier Than Ever’ has a sense of carefully curated transformation throughout.
The crafted openness is best displayed on ‘Halley’s Comet’, a love song ballad in two parts. Opening with sparse piano and breathy intimate vocals it hits the far reaches of the vintage tones that appear throughout the album before a separate piano melody comes in, rougher and distant and accompanying a tape warped vocal line that resituates the listener directly with Eilish in the songwriting process. It may not be the highlight of the album, of which there are several contenders, but it perfectly captures the essence of the album; intimate, affecting and with a mind to the future while overtly acknowledging the past.