“Bad Guy” is more proof of the multi-faceted artistry of Billie Eilish. She operates on so many levels it’s hard to track them. Her tunes are pop confections of consistent quality, her visuals are inventive performance art pieces and her vocals move from feathery to sinister. That’s just on this song.
All of this was apparent in her easiest work, though by comparison it seems as though she was playing it safe back then. The song “Ocean Eyes” from three years ago is one of her most straight forward attempts. The video starts with a simple singer/songwriter delivery and then, without bringing attention to it, her hands come into frame and they appear to be stained with blue ink. No reason, just a visual mention of Ms. Eilish’s bend approach, an approach that has flowered and released all its strangeness as her career has moved forward.
Notably, it is the haunting melodies of hers that provides the solid foundation allowing the strangeness to work so well. If they were too abstract, it would all be disconnected from reality. Billie Eilish is a master work and she has come along at the perfect time, a time when multi-layered media opportunities abound for a multi-faceted artist. The audio-video medium is her instrument.
“Bad Guy” is the number three streamed song and the number six purchased song in the last week of June.