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Billie Eilish’s ‘Your Power’ Fully Exhibits Vulnerability In Relationships

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American singer-songwriter Billie Eilish released her new single “Your Power” alongside the song’s music video on April 29, serving as a vulnerable introduction to her upcoming second studio album “Happier than Ever.”

Born Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell, the singer first gained attention back in 2015 at the age of 13 when she uploaded “Ocean Eyes” to SoundCloud. Written as a song for her dance teacher, Eilish’s first release gained immense popularity overnight and became a hit. The release of her debut EP “dont smile at me,” which was produced by her brother Finneas O’Connell, arrived in 2017 and grew her Instagram to 257,000 followers. Nearly two years later, Eilish’s first studio album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” was released, immediately exemplifying her success as an up and coming artist. Within a year, the singer won countless awards including five Grammys: Best New Artist, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album. Flash forward to today, Eilish has won two additional Grammys and holds an astonishing Instagram following of 84.4 million.

“Happier Than Ever” is expected to release on July 30, an album Eilish directly referred to on Instagram as her favorite creation yet. The release of its third track, “Your Power,” indicates the album may present fans with an unexpected side to the artist. Eilish ditches her signature edgy black hair with slime green roots and replaces it with bangs and platinum blonde locks — an innocent look hinting at the sophomore album’s delicacy. 

Photo provided by billie eilish @billieeilish/Twitter

The song includes a light and happy acoustic guitar melody that flaunts Eilish’s angelic soft voice while working to expose the manipulation of young women in the entertainment industry. The ballad directly refers to the singer’s emotionally abusive relationship with rapper Brandon “Q” Adams, known professionally as 7: AMP, who began dating the singer when she was 16 and he was 22. Despite their relationship only lasting for a year, it is evident that Adams contributed to Eilish’s mental decline and shattered her self-worth. In verse two she sings, “I thought that I was special / You made me feel / Like it was my fault, you were the devil,” drawing upon Adams’ inherent egotistical behavior. 

Throughout the relationship, Adams disregarded Eilish’s feelings and self-worth, emotionally manipulating her into believing his shrewd and disingenuous nature was her fault. This was established in the singer’s documentary “Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry,” which dives deep into her personal life as an artist and offers viewers a glimpse into the dark moments that had befallen upon their relationship. Eilish discusses Adams’ trip to the emergency room because he broke his hand punching a wall and confided in a friend saying, “I’m trying to get him to go to therapy. He’s so self-destructive.” To no avail, the couple split. “I can’t fix him, I’ve tried,” she said, ultimately allowing the singer to use her trauma to create a song that can spark change and new beginnings. 

The corresponding music video — directed by Eilish herself — opens with the camera zooming in on the singer sitting alone on a mountain. Throughout the video, an anaconda is seen slowly wrapping itself around Eilish’s body, which ultimately manifests a new chapter in her life as snakes are used as a symbol to represent renewal, healing and transformation. As she sings, “Does it keep you in control? (In control) / For you to keep her in a cage,” the snake fully engulfs itself around her neck and arms, revealing how trapped and deceived Eilish felt in the relationship. This equally indicates the corruption of young girls in the entertainment industry by powerful men — potentially using the cage as a means to delineate the feeling of being exploited and put on display. In the past, Eilish mentioned her fashion choices included baggy clothing to avoid being sexualized by the media. “Your Power” seems to have multiple connotations behind it, directly addressing listeners to allow any and everyone to find their own meaning in the lyrics. 

Photo provided by billie eilish @billieeilish/Twitter

In an interview with BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac, Eilish elucidates that there remains to be a fixation on control and power when it comes to abuse, which inclined her to create a song that divulges the many forms of manipulation in relationships. She told Mac, “It’s everywhere you look, and I hate it, and I wanted to say something. And I’m not gonna get too deep into the specific lyrics and what they mean and what they’re really about, but it’s a problem that’s occurring everywhere you look.”

On this intimate track, the chorus provides the most notable lyrics: “Try not to abuse your power” and “You might not wanna lose your power / But power isn’t pain.” This presents an unequal dynamic in relationships, insinuating that power isn’t worth the destruction it causes. The deep-rooted concern in her words alludes to the degradation that inflicts upon someone when a relationship is unbalanced.  

Overall, “Your Power” is an incredibly vigorous song that inspires listeners to never settle for anything less than they deserve. This vulnerable track suggests that Eilish’s upcoming album “Happier Than Ever” may be her deepest, most emotional ride yet. 

McKenzie Boney is an Entertainment Intern for the spring 2021 quarter. She can be reached at mboney@uci.edu.