Billie Eilish’s ‘HIT ME HARD AND SOFT’ review: A journey to growth

Billie Eilish releases third studio album after a three-year hiatus. The album is full of ballads and pop hits with themes of love, loss, and sexuality.
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“But the old me is still me and maybe the real me” Billie Eilish sings on her latest album, HIT ME HARD AND SOFT. That statement plays a pivotal role throughout the entirety of the album, as Eilish battles with love, loss, and sexual identity. Despite all of her awards, fame, and growth, one thing has stayed true, Eilish is still the same 15-year-old girl who was singing about having a “bellyache.” 

Following a three-year hiatus, the alt-pop star returns with her third studio album, once again being produced by her own brother, FINNEAS. Since the release of Happier Than Ever, Eilish and FINNEAS have both amassed two Grammy awards and two Oscars for various songs they have worked on, including 2023’s “What Was I Made For?” 

HIT ME HARD AND SOFT takes a turn from what Eilish’s fans are used to. Still full of synthesizers and guitar strums, her third album finds her questioning whether she is capable of falling in love. Eilish was thrown into fame at such a young age and has had very little privacy since. Her stardom is clearly taking a toll on not just her, but those she’s been romantically involved with. 

HIT ME HARD AND SOFT proves the authenticity and originality of the brother/sister duo of FINNEAS and Billie Eilish

The album starts with the track “Skinny,” where Eilish finds herself battling body images and trapped by the public eye. Stating in the track that she is a “bird in a cage,” it has become evident that her lack of privacy is beginning to get to her. 

Eilish has been faced with backlash in the last couple of years. But as she journeys through her own growth, she continues to find ways to love herself. Moments like “SKINNY” don’t portray Eilish as the pop star she is, but rather just another woman trying to make it through her life.

As a violin plays the track out, the transition into the second track begins. Little does the audience know that at that moment, Eilish foreshadows exactly what is to come later in the album. 

Throughout the album, Eilish takes us back to the song “Happier Than Ever,” where right in the middle the track goes from being a ceremonial ballad to an all-out rock concert. Those transitions in the midst of songs continue on HIT ME HARD AND SOFT. FINNEAS and Eilish’s chemistry continues to shine bright in these transitions, as every single one makes perfect sense and keeps the listener on their toes.

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On the second track, “LUNCH,” the alt-pop side of Eilish returns. It is also the first time we are introduced to Eilish’s interest in a woman. The track proves Eilish still is plenty capable of making a hit. 

Once “CHIHIRO” begins, the audience is brought back to Earth. The more ethereal side of Eilish is brought on during this track. It is also the first time we see a transition take place mid-song as the beat picks up and Eilish’s voice takes a backseat to the synthesizers. The beat picks up and Eilish has gone full ghostly. 

“BIRDS OF A FEATHER” once again shows Eilish’s ability to make another hit. The track finds the artist discussing the idea of “Till death do us part.” But the excitement and energy the song brings is quickly evaporated once “WILDFLOWER” begins. 

The fifth song finds Eilish looking at her past life and falling in love with one of her friends’ lovers. The internal conflict plays into track six, “THE GREATEST,” where she states she is simply “trying her best.”

The recounts of her previous relationships continue on “L’AMOUR DE MA VIE.” Possibly still looking back at the relationships she was speaking about on the two previous tracks, Eilish finds herself officially moving on. 

After a brief moment of the track slowing and fading, the beat lifts off and the audience is immediately encapsulated. The audience can almost see the growth Eilish went through, from being sad about the relationship to fully moving on and living a much better life.

“THE DINER” almost acts as a transition song. It feels very similar to Eilish’s style, with very pop beats with a very ghostly tone. However, at the very end of the track, she whispers a phone number, “(310) 807-3956.” Calling that number will lead one to hear Eilish’s voice answer and eventually lead one down a path to sign up for her emails.

On the track “BITTERSUITE,” Eilish finds herself in a hotel room alone. She’s been reflecting during her time alone. “L’Amour De Ma Vie” has left her “bittersweet” in a hotel room. As the track plays out, we’re introduced to the instrumentals of the final track, “BLUE”. 

In the same way, she started the album, Eilish finds herself reflecting. Once thinking that she and her partner were “birds of a feather,” she has come to the realization that they are very different, thus leaving her “blue.” She ends the track with the words, “but when can I hear the next one?” Alluding to the pressure she feels from needing to churn out new music like clockwork.

Overall, HIT ME HARD AND SOFT is a journey to growth, but Eilish is still stuck on the trauma of previous relationships. And as much as she believes she has moved on and feels like she is “the greatest,” she still finds herself feeling very “blue.”

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