“Hit Me Hard and Soft”: Billie Eilish’s Third Studio Album Celebrates Sincerity

The cover of "Hit Me Hard and Soft" @billieeilish // Instagram

Billie Eilish’s third studio album is breathtakingly transparent in its heartbreak, sensuality and ambition. The tortured poetry of “Hit Me Hard and Soft” is often complimented by its experimental sound, as the album explores familiar themes of love, insecurity and coming of age within the cage of celebrity. Eilish probes and investigates her emotions throughout the life of this work while simultaneously learning how to navigate the peculiar world at her feet.

“Skinny” introduces the album with delicate ruminations on body image, depression and public scrutiny. Eilish ponders aloud: “Am I acting my age now? Am I already on the way out?” The opening track is followed by “Lunch,” which is playful in its sexuality and bright in comparison to the majority of its counterparts.

Eilish pines for an ever-lasting love in “Birds of a Feather,” striking a clear contrast between the song’s bubbly tune and its morbid lyricism. Recounting her undying devotion to a nonchalant lover in “The Greatest,” the song reaches its crescendo with an impressive vocal delivery from Eilish. “The Diner” showcases its artist roleplaying as a celebrity stalker over a chilling instrumental.

“Bittersuite” is separated into multiple parts, representing the palpable conflict and anxiety that Eilish seems to grapple with when forming new relationships and developing trust. “Blue,” the album’s final track, seamlessly references the nine songs that precede it before Eilish’s vocals ultimately drift from the audience and fade into the instrumental.

Many of the layers found in the vocal production of “Hit Me Hard and Soft” are subtle and understated. Its muted details are ever-present, hidden throughout the album’s course and buried inside its world of sound. While the production of this album is initially unpredictable, the sonic changes of course begin to feel expected and repetitive during its later tracks.

While the exploration of sound on this album is daring and experimental, it at times may distract the listener from its own craft. Nevertheless, “Hit Me Hard and Soft” attests to the nurturing of Eilish’s imagination and artistry. Her lyricism and vocals have proven to be prominent highlights of this work. Eilish concludes her third studio album with a question many fans might be asking themselves right now: “But when can I hear the next one?”

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