Like the rest of the world Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy definitely caught my ear, I then loved the James Bond theme ‘No Time To Die’ and have her current release ‘Therefore I Am’ on my Spotify playlist. However, I wouldn’t call myself a fan and didn’t really know much about her. I do love a documentary though, so I activated my free one year or Apple TV to watch this bad boy!
What is really interesting, is that they started making this documentary before her When We Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? album was released. So although she had a fan base from her 2017 EP and YouTube success that might’ve been as big as it ever got and they’d made a documentary essentially for nothing! However, it is kind of that documentary you always wish existed and instead you get little home video clips of celebrities trying to make it. Basically the investment paid off for them big time!
The focus of the documentary is; obviously, Billie and her brother Finneas writing her album and it’s actually so interesting. Finneas clearly has an incredible talent for writing and producing music and the patience and admiration he has for his sister is incredible. It’s also intriguing that despite Billie’s clear talent at writing songs, she absolutely hates doing it. It just shows the integrity of her music though as I’m sure the record label would have quite happily got her song written by others to sing.
The family dynamics are unique too. Both of her parents have been linked to Hollywood and the family live in LA. You don’t see it in the documentary necessarily but my perception from the documentary was that the house maybe wasn’t really big enough for four adults to be living in and I’ve since read that the house is only two bedroom so their parents sleep on a pull out couch in the living room to allow Billie and Finneas bedrooms to use as a creative space. And at one point there are people who I assumed to be from the record label sitting in one of their bedrooms listening to the music. It is clear throughout the documentary that without the support of her family Billie Eilish would not be the success she is, and I’m really glad that Finneas is getting recognition and rewards for his work too.
Really, despite all of the designer clothing, you get a real insight that the family are absolutely not in it for the money but to genuinely share their music with the world. And the love Billie has for her fans; including Justin Bieber, is astounding. I feel like so many celebrities pay lip service to their fans and obviously HAVE to be grateful because they wouldn’t be where they are without them, but Billie uses her own experiences of being a teenage girl in love with Bieber to remind herself of the impact she could be having on others lives.
Her music is obviously the main thread running throughout the documentary and I feel like I developed a new appreciation for her vocal ability listening to her sing without production over crowding and she really does have a beautiful voice. I’d always felt that the James Bond theme ‘No Time To Die’ was lacking some of the big dramatic vocals too but now after watching her recording the demo for it I understand this is her version of big dramatic vocals and even though to me it sounds soft all the way through she genuinely is ‘belting’ in her own way. Also the visions she has when she’s creating her music; although maybe a little disturbing, are phenomenal. You also see her take full control over the direction of her music videos and visuals which although could be seen as bratty is portrayed as complete passion for her work.
One thing I would’ve liked to see more of in the documentary is insight into Billie’s health conditions. Although we see her receiving a lot of physio and she comments on her Tourette’s tics it’s all on the periphery. I can fully appreciate that it was not the focus of the documentary in any way shape or form and quite rightly that was the music, but I feel like I just don’t understand the health difficulties she faces and that as it was referred to and portrayed in small glimpses a fuller explanation would have helped the audience to appreciate her day to day life. I’m not sure I even knew Tourette’s could be a physical tic before watching this.
Anyway, whether you love/like her music or not this is genuinely an insightful documentary I would recommend (yes I’m a geek and love documentaries anyway) and you might even learn to appreciate her unique music more; like I did.