Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep: A Complete Breakdown From Finneas O’Connell

This fuzzy, jazzy ballad takes musical cues from Feist and Frank Sinatra, but its lyrical inspiration is all Finneas and Billie’s. “Neither of us do any drugs, and growing up, we just had a lot of friends who really enjoyed being inebriated and smoking a lot,” the producer explained. “We’d end up at these house parties where everyone was just smoking cigarettes. You’d sit there, and you’re sober and not smoking, and it’s a miserable experience.”

In her recent MTV Push interview, Billie said she wanted the distorted, bone-rattling bass to make listeners “feel miserable,” and Finneas achieved that by basically making the sonic equivalent of those smoky house parties.

“I wanted to use the bass to articulate the thickness of cigarette smoke,” he described. “And then I got kind of obsessed with SoundCloud rap for awhile, and a lot of that is sort of purposely distorted and clipped in the audio. I wanted to achieve that sound in a really specific way, so I processed Billie’s vocal through this compression sidechain off of the bass, and had the vocal get fried in the chorus.”

He added, “It was actually a big point of contention between us and our label ’cause they were alarmed by it. But Billie and I both thought that the weirder the chorus could be, the better. It’s kind of ironic, because her voice sounds so beautiful and the chords are really pretty. It’s like when you see a model and they’re wearing ugly clothing, and you’re like, ‘Well, OK. Nice ugly shirt, but your face is still your face.'”

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