Critiquing Albums Like I Could Make Anything Better: HIT ME HARD AND SOFT by Billie Eilish

This post is part 19 of 19 in the series:
Critiquing Albums Like I Could Make Anything Better

Billie Eilish’s highly anticipated 3rd studio album, HIT ME HARD AND SOFT, was most highly anticipated by me. So jot that down real quick. This album came out the day that I finished my journalism internship. I carefully and excitedly listened to it in my car on the way to a lunch with a group of other journalists. Billie Eilish’s last album, Happier Than Ever (2021), met my ears at an entirely different, but important point in my life. The 2019 record breaking WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? (2019) also held me in a time of incredible change and growth. So naturally, Billie Eilish putting out an album feels like a personal event. It’s basically my birthday. It’s a fantastic check-point for me to think about where I am at in life, and HIT ME HARD AND SOFT did not disappoint in this respect.

In my review of Happier Than Ever, I said that Billie Eilish did, in fact, sound happier but not necessarily happy. On this record, she sounds genuinely happy at points. This record is equally playful and solemn. Billie Eilish is at her best on tracks like L’AMOUR DE MA VIE, leaning into experimentation, and tossing genre aside. For an album with such an incredible range of sound, HIT ME HARD AND SOFT does well to remain cohesive and impactful as a full body of work. A lot of new releases have left me hungry from popular artists over the last 2-3 years. Taylor Swift’s Tortured Poets Department, namely, left me tortured through her failure to experiment. I can say the same about Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore release, and I am deeply sorry to admit that I expected better from Hozier’s last album. When I heard HIT ME HARD AND SOFT, on that fateful morning last month, I thought “Thank you, Billie Eilish, for saving music”. That might be ridiculous of me, but I stand by it.

Spotify: Hit Me Hard and Soft – Billie Eilish



Vocal layering is always beautiful. This feels like it picks up where the last album left off. Getting Older is the first track from Happier Than Ever, and it also kind of updates the listener about the themes and setting of the album similarly. This is much more optimistic. It also tells us how different Billie’s voice sounds now. She’s using it differently on this album. It’s exciting. The swell before “I still cry” sounds a bit like a breath, which makes an incredible amount of sense. I like that she left the breaths in this song overall. I remember liking that about the last album as well. The strings at the end are so beautiful, and they are the melody of THE GREATEST. This song could have made a great closing track as well. She’s just showing off as this song trails off and swells into the next track, LUNCH.

"And the internet is hungry for the meanest kind of funny
And somebody's gotta feed it


This is a really fun song to hear after that first one. This album over all is fun. It combines the experimental and conceptual production qualities of her first album, without sacrificing the sincerity of her second. It’s a really great blend. This could possibly be her first ‘gay’ song, since confirming her queerness last year. That doesn’t really excite me on its own, but the silliness of it makes me happy. I feel like this is a grown up Bad Guy. It’s groovy. I like the clicks and the car sound at the end of the second verse. The echoed vocals are really cool too. Listening to this album for the first time with earphones was an entirely new experience. The pick up at the end is also really great, which is typical of a lot of songs on this album. It leaves me with one very pressing question – when will Billie Eilish make house music?


This is the one I’ve heard leaked all over TikTok. The gentle ad-libs are really cool. I’d love to just hear the backing vocals to this one. I like how different this song sounds in different verses. It’s like 4 songs in one. The echo effects on this album are so well done and cool. The synth-y bit in the middle and at the end sounds like a stranger things track. I appreciate a gentle drop or two. It’s really cool. It reminds me of something else, but I can’t figure out what. There’s so much to say about this song, I’m just speechless. It sounds like she’s just freestyling the lyrics, in a really great way. You just know what the words are. I wonder if that is Finneas’ voice we hear come in near the end. I’m so sure this would be a great song to run to.

YouTube: CHIHIRO – Billie Eilish


I really liked this on first listen, but I also immediately thought “TikTok is going to ruin this one”. It’s really happy for a Billie Eilish song. The echos on “You’re so full of shit” are so fun. This has a very maraca friendly vibe. Millennials will be married to it.


This was my favourite on first listen. I rewinded it about 4 times. It reminds me of my girlfriend and I before we were together. I like how vague some lyrics are, open to interpretation. I took the opportunity to interpret it to be about my girlfriend and I. The kick-up after the first chorus is so tasteful. This song lifts in a really natural and subtle way and I think that’s what makes it so emotional. The bridge is incredible. She sings these incredible notes and then holds the beat with the “Valentine’s day crying…”. I also really like that it has its own reprise at the end. It makes sense for the song.


This feels like a sister song to Your Power. It’s not my favourite, but I think maybe I just don’t get it. It’s not for me. I would have loved it on the last album, with where I was in my life then. And I think it’s one of the more tame songs on this album in terms of production. Though, the last part is big and cinematic. It’s a great ballad, and undeniably a vocal masterpiece.


After a handful of listens, I think this is my official favourite of the album. It’s cheeky, it’s jazzy, it’s very dynamic. The melody is incredible, and I love when Billie uses her voice like this. And then the electronic portion of the song really comes out of nowhere. But it’s incredible. Happier Than Ever really paved the way for songs like this, where the second half is entirely different from the first. It’s like a futuristic but somehow 80s sound? I love it so much. I’ve listened to it every day since release. Again, when will Billie Eilish make house music?

It isn't asking for a lot for an apology
For making me feel like it'd kill you if I tried to leave

You said you'd never fall in love again because of me
Then you moved on immediately
 (Bum, bum, bum)


This sounds nothing like Billie Bossa Nova, but it feels similar somehow. Hearing Billie Eilish say “You could be my wife” is great. This song makes sense in a sonic aspect to the rest of the album’s mood, without being the pinnacle song of the album.


Having this song come after THE DINER makes a lot of sense. I kind of wish it were somewhere else, though. At this point in my listening, I kind of drift off in the first section. The next section of this song comes along and it sounds so familiar. I saw a TikTok comparing the music to the background music in a Kahoot’s waiting room. I’m not ruling that out as a possible sample, because Bad Guy samples Australian pedestrian crossing sounds. There are a lot of interesting and arguably silly sounds in this one. She does a similar thing in the last half of this song as she does in WILDFLOWER, with the beat-keeping and long notes over the top. Melodically it kind of reminds me of her early stuff – my boy, specifically. The very last melody ties into the next song.


This is apparently a mix of a few different songs. The verses tie the whole album together lyrically. It’s a really great way to end an album, in a summary. It strikes me as a tad gimmicky, and I’m not sure it would hold up on its own. If I had listened to the album backward, I wonder if it would have played the same role. The ‘born blue’ part is beautiful and kind of alien. It’s really interesting. I like when the beat comes in, and then the strings from THE GREATEST. It’s really impressive how natural that sounds together. I watched her interview with Zane Lowe (I love him, he’s a god to me), and they explain how this song came together over a really long span of time. At the end she says “but when can I hear the next one?” and I’m not sure how to interpret that apart from to agree with the double album theory, and hope that there is another album coming soon.


  4. LUNCH
  10. BLUE

Series: Critiquing Albums Like I Could Make Anything Better