In my post of a few days ago about pop singer Billy Eilish, I received some very anxious emails informing me she’s more than just a singer with dark lyrics, it seems she’s making outrageous statements about “the occult” and whatnot.
Certainly, if this kind of modern music makes you uncomfortable then, by all means, don’t listen.
On the other hand, if you stop for a moment and think about it, she’s more of a reflection of our times and her age than anything else. And isn’t that the idea behind music? Bob Dylan’s lyrics were a reflection of his time as much as Beethoven and Mozart were.
And music is often outrageous! Gustav Mahler’s music was so outrageous that he was booed off the stage and lambasted as a heretic! Today, we cannot even imagine that it was so.
It’s tough being 18. For one thing, part of your job is to scare the crap out of adults by being outrageous. That’s what we do when we’re coming of age. We test the waters of what it takes to provoke outrage. That’s what Billie Eilish is doing, only, she’s doing it brilliantly. She is saying what’s in the heads of her contemporaries and saying it so honestly that people listen. Which is why I bring her to your attention.
And the conspiracy theories? She’s no more on a mission to convert youth to darkness than Elvis Presley was out to corrupt and subvert his generation. They are/were reflections of their time and age.
Let me give you some examples of past outrageous behavior. We’ll start with the 50s, and work our way through to today. See if you don’t spot a pattern in these photos:
Each era had its outrageous appearance designed to shock the older generation, make a statement of their independence, and put a stake in the ground saying, “I am here. I have arrived, and I am not you.”
That’s how it works.