Billie Eilish had established herself as an intriguing pop artist destined for success with her early singles like “Ocean Eyes”, “You Should See Me in a Crown”, “Bury a Friend” and others, but “Bad Guy” l ‘took over the edge. Co-written by Eilish and her frequent collaborator, brother, and producer Finneas, “Bad Guy” continued to prove them as an unstoppable duo upon its release in 2019, solidifying Eilish as a modern superstar. Below, we explore the meaning of “Bad Guy.”
Meaning behind the song
“Bad Guy” is as much a social commentary as it is an unforgettable pop song. Eilish explained that the track pokes fun at people who try to project an image in the world that they want others to see in them – whether it’s true or not.
“It’s about a lot of things, but I think the real idea of this song was that people have to tell everyone they’re a certain way all the time, they’re not that way. way,” she told 102.7 KIISFM. “It’s basically making fun of everyone and their personalities, and even mine.”
One example she cites of people who fall into this category are those who “say they’re always working” and try to prove it by having a kitschy phrase like “never not work” on their cellphone case.
But the singer says she actually identifies with these type of people, because she was trying to be tougher than she is. “I feel like you’ll never catch a bad female dog telling everyone she’s a bad female dog,” she continues. “If you walk around all the time saying ‘I’m bad, I always break the rules and I do this and that’, you’re not. I know that because I used to say that. and it wasn’t People like bad kids, bad boys, bad bitches, they do this shit and they don’t even know it.
She developed this point to rolling stone, noting that “Bad Guy” is about taking down someone who is too big for their panties.
“The whole song speaks to someone who thinks he’s a big badass,” she describes. The concept for the song was developed by the singer from a previous song she started writing which centered around her being “the bad guy”. She adds that she was inspired by the sounds of JID’s “Never” and Isaiah Rashad’s “Stuck in the Mud” with SZA when creating “Bad Guy.”
words like so you’re a badass / I really like that badass are meant to call someone’s bluff. “I’m also going to be all kinds of fakes,” she replies to the fictional main character. “If you can pretend with everyone and try to prove that you’re something you’re not, I can do that too.”
Addicted to Sonics
The production of the song is just as intriguing as the lyrics, with Eilish working closely with her brother to craft the various melodies. The siblings reveal that the synth at the end of the chorus was actually inspired by the theme song from Selena Gomez’s old Disney show, the Wizards of Waverly Place.
“I feel like a lot of music producers have the same toolkit and for me as a producer, I always want something to differentiate my stuff,” Finneas said on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. To do this, he walks around with an iPhone or a recorder capturing the everyday sounds that often find their way into his songs in an attempt to add a “little textural thing”.
For example, when he and his sister were on tour in Australia, they noticed that the pedestrian crossing signal made a distinct sound which they recorded and incorporated into part of the melody of “Bad Guy”.
“In Sydney and Melbourne when you’re standing on a street light you press the button and then when the walk sign comes on you hear that rhythmic sound that I love and Billie loved and so we have it recorded,” he explained. “It’s like a groove.”
“That song was one of the most fun songs to do,” Eilish told Rolling stone. “I love our music and we work so hard on it.”
“Bad Guy” charted worldwide, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making Eilish, then 17, the first artist born in the 2000s to reach the top. Hungary, Australia, Canada and Greece are among the many other countries where the song has reached No. 1. She also won numerous awards, including Song of the Year and Record of the Year at the 2020 Grammy Awards, while her parent album, When we all fall asleep, where do we go? was named Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.
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