Billie Eilish Says ‘Hit Me Hard and Soft’ Is a Return to Her Debut Album: ‘I’ve Been Grieving Her’

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Billie Eilish is coming home to herself. In her new Rolling Stone cover story published Wednesday (April 24), the 22-year-old pop star revealed that her third album, Hit Me Hard and Soft, is a return to the darker sounds and styles she introduced on her debut LP When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

“I feel like this album is me,” she told the publication of her latest project, which arrives May 17. “It’s not a character. It feels like the When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? version of me. It feels like my youth and who I was as a kid.”

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“This whole process has felt like I’m coming back to the girl that I was,” she continued. “I’ve been grieving her. I’ve been looking for her in everything, and it’s almost like she got drowned by the world and the media. I don’t remember when she went away.”

Released in March 2019, Eilish’s debut album spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and spawned her first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100, “Bad Guy.” Later, the projects won her song, record and album of the year at the 2020 Grammys, where she also picked up best new artist.

Two years later, she followed it up with her sophomore effort, Happier Than Ever, about which she said, “I was with myself so much that I couldn’t see myself objectively anymore … And then I dyed my hair blonde and I immediately was like, ‘Oh, I have no idea who I am.’”

Now, she’s working to resurrect what she refers to as “2019 me.” Finneas, Eilish’s older brother and longtime collaborator, corroborates this. “I feel like this album has some real ghosts in it, and I say that with love,” he told the publication. “There’s ideas on this album that are five years old, and there’s a past to it, which I really like. When Billie talks about the era of When We All Fall Asleep, it was this theatricality and this darkness. What’s the thing that no one is as good at as Billie is? This album was an exploration of what we do best.”

The two-time Oscar winner first announced Hit Me Hard and Soft earlier this month, sharing its underwater cover art and release date on social media. Later, she unveiled the project’s 10-song tracklist, featuring titles such as “Skinny,” “Lunch,” “L’Amour De Ma Vie,” “Blue” and “Wildflower.”

She said from the beginning, however, that she wouldn’t be releasing any singles from the new record, something she touched on again in her new interview. “Every single time an artist I love puts out a single without the context of the album, I’m just already prone to hating on it,” she said. “I really don’t like when things are out of context. This album is like a family: I don’t want one little kid to be in the middle of the room alone.”

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