It took Billie Eilish to step up and actually pose the question in the form of the title for her 2019 full-length debut album, WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP WHERE DO WE GO? [Darkroom/Interscope Records]. These fourteen tracks materialize as ghostly genre-less pop projections of life’s firsts for the multi-platinum songstress as she ruminates on her first brushes with loss and love amidst the monsters under her bed and the triumphs at her feet.
As such, the question still goes unanswered—because it can’t be answered—but that just might’ve been her point all along...
“Nobody knows what the fuck dreams are, dude,” she exclaims. “You can’t give me a good enough answer as to what dreams are. Nobody can. Dreams are a big thing in my life though. They’ve always really occupied me. It’s all in the music.”
One daydream manifested to set the stage for such provocation. Within three years since her 2015 debut, Billie quietly, yet unapologetically infiltrated the forefront of pop. Earning six gold certifications (“Bellyache,” “IDONTWANNABEYOUANYMORE,” Don’t Smile At Me EP, “Copycat,” “My Boy,” and “when the party’s over”) and two platinum certifications (“Ocean Eyes” and “Lovely” [feat. Khalid]), she tallied over 6 billion cumulative streams by 2019, and dont smile at me notably held a spot in the Billboard Top 200 for over a year. Meanwhile, she garnered acclaim from Vogue, Vanity Fair, New York Times Rolling Stone, Billboard, Spotify, Apple Music, and more and graced the stage of Ellen and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Not to mention, she sold out four world tours and has top billing everywhere from Lollapalooza to Coachella. She maintains a direct connection to fans through open dialogue and one-on-one social media communication. This honesty helped her attract millions of followers online.
Along the way, she and her chief collaborator, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and big brother Finneas O’Connell crafted what would become WHEN WE FALL ASLEEP WHERE DO WE GO? Keeping the creativity in-house, literally, they retreated back to Billie’s childhood home. Once again, they worked in Finneas’ bedroom—two feet from Billie’s room—where the songs not only came to life, but also all of the dreams.