“listen before i go” is the twelfth track on the fourteen track album: “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP WHERE DO WE GO?”, and is written by both Billie Eilish and brother Finneas. It is perhaps the most dark-themed song on the entire album, singing from the perspective of an individual about to commit suicide but speaking to their lover beforehand.
Eilish has previously discussed her own struggles with depression, which caused some controversy and concern with her fans. Eilish spoke to Rob Markman from music publication GENIUS about her and her brother’s songwriting process, emphasizing that you don’t have to experience something to write about it or understand it. “You don’t have to go through anything to write about it, or you can go through everything and write about something else. It’s literally like telling a story, you can write about something you’ve done, you can write about something your friend’s done, or you want to do, or you used to do, or your mom’s done.” Eilish also spoke to PopBuzz about the order of the last three tracks on the album (with “listen before i go” being in the middle) and her intention for them to form a sentence: “listen before i go”, “i love you” and “goodbye” – the final track on the album. Eilish has also stated in an interview with Radio Energy that “listen before i go” is one of her favourite songs that she has ever written in her life. In terms of Eilish speaking about the sensitive subject and her meaning of the song. She performed the song live in her 1by1 tour in Toronto. “Basically it’s like, um it’s about, it’s just about depression, and what can come out of depression, which is not pretty good. […] When this comes out, I don’t want it to break you down, I want it to bring you to me and I don’t know, be like a mental hug, I guess. [… ] What I’m really trying to do is let my words be your words and stay ours.”
There is currently no music video for “listen before i go”, but the official audio video on Billie Eilish’s channel has over 6.6 million views and 100,000 likes.
Release Date: 29th March 2019
Songwriter/s: Billie Eilish, FINNEAS
Label/s: Interscope Records, Darkroom Records
Chart Rankings: “listen before i go” is one of Eilish’s less popular songs, with it reaching #29 in Australia, #42 in Canada, #63 in the US and #71 in Sweden. Perhaps it’s lack of mainstream chart coverage is due to the sensitive and triggering themes of the song.