“bury a friend” is the tenth track off of Billie Eilish’s debut studio album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”, released back in March earlier this year.
Written by Billie and her co-writer and producer brother Finneas, “bury a friend” is a song that discusses themes of death, disorientation, the concept of identity and being a monster. The track opens with a male’s voice saying “Billie”, which is the voice of Crooks, an English Soundcloud rapper. He kept tagging Eilish in his Instagram photos and posts, Billie told Billboard in a 2018 interview. He attracted Billie’s attention, eventually leading to them becoming best friends. Eilish also told YouTube music about the recording process of getting Crooks to record his snippets. “Like immediately after we had been playing it- a little bit, I was like “I need to just hear my name at the beginning.” Like I just need to hear a “Billie.” And so immediately I thought of my friend, Calvin. So I literally texted him, I was like “Hey, record yourself saying my name and send it to me, thanks.”
It is believed that the origin of the track comes from a sleep paralysis experience which Billie Eilish shared details of via her Instagram story. One fan by the name of “@thiccavocadoo” speculated if that was what the album was based on, to which Billie replied with two emojis of the hand to the mouth. The lyrics are quite graphic, with lines such as: “step on the glass, staple your tongue”, “bury a friend, try to wake up”, as well as the prominent “I wanna end me”. If focusing on the theory that the song is based off of Eilish’s nightmares and sleep paralysis, then it could be assumed that the line “I wanna end me” is referring to the version of herself in the nightmare, not her actual self in reality. Eilish told Umusic: “When we made “bury a friend,” the whole album clicked in my head. I immediately knew what it was going to be about, what the visuals were going to be, and everything in terms of how I wanted it to be perceived. It inspired what the album is about. “bury a friend” is literally from the perspective of the monster under my bed. If you put yourself in that mindset, what is this creature doing or feeling? I also confess that I’m this monster, because I’m my own worst enemy. I might be the monster under your bed, too.”
The music video for “bury a friend” was released the same day as the single – the 20th January 2019 – on Billie Eilish’s official YouTube channel. Like many of Eilish’s videos, “bury a friend” is creepy, eccentric and scarily beautiful all at the same time. Featuring Crooks sleeping in a bed with Billie underneath as a monster, we are shown a series of frightening events in the music video: Billie’s getting needles stabbed in back and being grabbed, pushed and pulled, as well as her eyes turning black and being able to float, very similarly to the victims of exorcisms in traditional horror films. As of April 2019, the music video has over 131.8 million views.
Release Date: 30th January 2019
Songwriter/s: Billie O’Connell, Finneas O’Connell
Label/s: Darkroom / Interscope
Music Video Release Date: 30th January 2019
Music Video Director: Michael Chavez
Chart Rankings & Certifications: The track went to #1 in Sweden, #14 in the US, #6 in the UK, #29 in the Netherlands, #2 in New Zealand, #3 in Australia, #4 in Finland and hit the charts in many other countries too, such as Japan and Mexico. The track received Platinum certification in Australia, Gold in Italy and New Zealand, and Silver in the UK.