Critics have praised Billie Eilish as “one of her generation’s most significant pop artists” following the release of her second album Happier Than Ever.
The 19-year-old’s follow-up to 2019’s double-platinum debut When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? garnered four- and five-star reviews from numerous UK publications.
The Times’ chief rock and pop critic Will Hodgkinson gave Happier Than Ever four stars out of a possible five and described it as “remarkably low-key”.
He added: “There are no collaborations, no Elton Johns popping up for guest spots, just Billie and (brother and producer) Finneas making one subdued, minimal song after another.
“An unnerving electronic warble runs through an icy kiss-off called I Didn’t Change My Number, while Billie Bossa Nova is exactly that; a breezy, languid love song tinged with the bittersweet lament of all good bossa nova.”
Neil McCormick, music critic at The Daily Telegraph, offered four stars and praised the manner in which Eilish addressed issues such as abuses of power in “social and sexual relationships”.
He said: “The 16-song set flows beautifully, carrying listeners on an emotional journey in which surprising musical twists and glittering barbs of lyrical empowerment cast optimistic light on a long dark night of Billie’s tortured soul.”
In The Guardian, head rock and pop critic Alexis Petridis gave Happier Than Ever four stars and noted that it is “less obviously ear-grabbing and immediate than its predecessor, with lyrics that move away from directly reflecting the lives of her teenage fans”.
He added: “There’s not much point in pretending you’re still just like them when you’ve sold millions, sung a Bond theme and appeared on the cover of Vogue dressed in a custom-made Gucci corset.”
El Hunt of NME gave the album a maximum score of five stars and hailed it as establishing Eilish as “one of her generation’s most significant pop artists – and, better still, does so without repeating a single trick from the debut that turned her life upside down”.
The Evening Standard also gave the album five stars, with writer David Smyth saying: “She still doesn’t sound anything like a glossy arena filler, which is a huge part of her appeal. She’s doing things very differently, which hopefully means a new way to survive too.”
Happier Than Ever is out now on Darkroom/Interscope records.