Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry (2021)
Now don’t expect anything groundbreaking, but this is pretty good. Certainly the only thing I’ve found of much interest on Apple TV+. Do you need to be a fan to enjoy this? Well it probably helps, but it’s not necessary. I like a few songs, but I wouldn’t call myself a fan. It’s maybe two songs actually and I can only name one. It’s standard but well executed stuff, with the feeling that cameras have been rolling 24/7 for years. For me it starts better than it finishes. Although I like Billie at the start and that hasn’t changed come the end. At the start though it’s all about the music, the drive, the vision, the creativity. Eilish herself is likeable. Honest, sincere, genuine, grateful. All quite surprising considering the storm that begins to swirl around her. Despite all the stories of being a bleak depressed teenager, really she’s a well adjusted kid from a well adjusted family. Family is important and this is clearly true for Eilish. Writing with her brother Finneas in a bedroom, it’s simple, lofi in its origin. All the ideas are carefully crafted, meticulous, Eilish is a bit of a control freak... in my book that’s a good thing. There’s an easy confidence to both Billie and Finneas. They know they’ve got something, even when there’s the odd sign of pressure induced self-doubt. As much as Finneas is clearly a massive part of the process, the co-writer, the producer, the soundboard for Billie’s ideas. It’s hard to get past the idea that she’s the spark. I don’t know that he could do it without her, but maybe she could without him. It’s undeniably the Billie show. She’s the star. It’s “My album coming out”, not our album. The rise is FAST, really FAST. Dizzyingly so and it creates a gruelling schedule, I guess once you reach a certain level, expectations take over. It’s here that her parents provide an anchor, some protection and to be honest there’s a sense that they’re clearly the most important part of the whole machine. Both actors, they appear to have everything on hold for their children. They’re not perfect though, making mistakes. They’re all learning on the job. I like the origin story. It feels humble, not am exactly relatable, but oddly normal. The album release changes things though. Massive sales, sold out tours, free swag, the machine hitting the high gears. It does become slightly alienating. Especially at Coachella with Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom flouncing around. It’s here we get a sense of her relationship with some bloke called Q (no me neither). An early collaborator, he seems like a prick and the editor here clearly agrees with me, making sure we get the message that he’s bad news for Billie. That’s point of all this isn’t it. To show the real Billie, to endear her to us, a wider audience than the one that already adores her. To show her dealing with all the hardships life throws at you and figuring out how to do stuff for yourself as you grow up. For all the fuss around her she does seem to retain a sense of self. Still wanting to be in control, resisting the pressure. My one criticism is that as we get further into the story, it starts to feel more orchestrated. Like the narrative is being controlled. We know that really, it’s a documentary, but to have it done so blatantly is a bit grating. It’s not her fault. This is her life now. I’ve little interest in the machinations of fame and so the second half (after the intermission) does limp a bit. So it starts with the music and ends with the fame. Purity to corruption. As it comes close to it’s end, we see her struggle. With relationships, with expectations, with injuries and fatigue. This does feel honest. Fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. A message to the fanbase, but there is a coda of smiles, declarations of happiness, awards and feeling stronger. I hope that’s the case. She seems like a good person. Head screwed on the right way and genuinely wanting to put out the music she enjoys. So yeah, pretty good.