Billie Eilish’s New Single Shows That Abuse of Power Is a Slow, Heavy Kill
“Will you only feel bad if it turns out that they kill your contract?,” she sings on “Your Power.”
Earlier this week, we got the news that Billie Eilish is releasing her highly anticipated sophomore album Happier Than Ever. We’ve heard a couple tracks from the album—before we even knew there was an album—but today we got the single “Your Power” as an official look in this new Blonde Billie era. And boy, is it chilling.
“Your Power” is a bluesy country ballad about the devils that walk among us—the ones that take pride in the systemic superiority our society has instilled in them. Now at the end of her teenage years, the year Eilish released her excellent debut EP don’t smile at me was also the one that thousands of people shared their sexual trauma under the hashtag “MeToo,” relinquishing some power from their abusers. Eilish was around 16, and during some of her more informative years has watched the trials of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and R. Kelly, as well as the backlash against Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, and dozens of other high profile people who abused their power and celebrity. In a way, Eilish is not only a young Gen Z star impacted by the vitriol of the internet and the toxicity of celebrity, but one who has risen amidst the long-awaited downfall of so many wolves in sheeps’ clothing.
Over plush acoustic guitar, Eilish details one abusing that power, someone sleeping with an underage student. “She said you were a hero / You played the part,” she sings heavily during the verse. It’s a poignant line, highlighting that both parties are aware of the vulnerability of such a situation. The person painted as a hero has either the ability to uphold themselves on that pedestal or to shoot down others with the upper-hand being at the top. Then, Eilish puts forth a philosophical question of morality: “Will you only feel bad if they find out?” Would not having that power make you a better person, or would it only hide the truth from the world?
The singer-songwriter shared on her Instagram that “My Power” is one of her favorite songs that she’s written. “I feel very vulnerable putting this one out because I hold it so close to my heart. This is about many different situations that we’ve all either witnessed or experienced,” she continued.
The single isn’t only raw because of the relevant appeal of its heavy content, but at one point Eilish actually uses the first person. “You made me feel like it was my fault you were the devil,” she sings towards the song’s end. In its video, we find Billie hidden amongst a gorgeous canyon, being strangled by a snake. In many of Billie’s videos (including those she’s directed) we find her at the hands of others—cigarettes being put out on her, syringes injected into her, hands pushing her down. But the snake in “My Power” is both a metaphor for the slow strangulation-induced kill and a Biblical reference for the devil that walks among us.
Watch it below.