We’ve all had dark fantasies. They can be about sex, crime, or other nefarious acts that could only originate from the deepest recesses of our psyche. For most of us, these thoughts come and go, never articulated for the world at large to hear. On her most recent single, L.A. singer Billie Eilish chooses to lean into the darkness, playing the character of a criminal on “Bellyache.”
With help from her older brother Finneas O’Connell on production, the young singer Eilish shows musical and vocal maturity beyond her years. Her sultry delivery plays into the song’s theme of crime and passion. Her character in the song shows a complex range of emotions, all tied to a warped mind that leads to possible murder and allusions to suicide. She writes, “My friends aren’t far/ in the back of my car/ lay their bodies,” and later references wearing a noose like a necklace.
Even throughout the song’s crime narrative, there’s a deeper discussion of the perils of acting on one’s darkest tendencies. If we are to assume Eilish’s character has committed murder, we then see the aftermath and despairing self-reflection in the song’s chorus as she sings, “Where is my mind/ maybe it’s in the gutter… thought that I’d feel better/ but now I got a bellyache.” With the song’s title emphasizing the negative response to her actions, we get even more of a sense of regret from Eilish.
“Bellyache” may seem just like a juvenile jaunt into a teenager’s dark fantasy with relatively nondescript songwriting and production, but Eilish proves that she has an active artistic mind with captivating ideas that will only continue to evolve and expand over time.
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