No artist has taken over pop culture so resoundingly in the way that Billie Eilish has in the past few years. From teenage underground upstart to chart-topper in the blink of an eye, Eilish’s rapid rise has been meteoric, to say the least.
Eilish’s music is so unique for pop that it holds up to all scrutiny. Produced with her brother Finneas, Eilish employs stark contrasts and slightly haunted soundscapes that fuse bedroom pop with nightmarish parallel universes. It would have been oppressive, almost industrial, if not inflected with such a catchy edge.
After the fantastic triumph of her debut LP When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, Eilish took a slightly jazzier, more mature route with 2021’s Happier Than Ever. In between albums, showing just how far she’s come, she sang one of the best James Bond themes in recent memory, a testament to her skill. Once shows start opening up again, Eilish will be taking festivals by storm, playing her off-kilter pop to legions of adoring fans.
Given that she is such a left-field pop star, there’s no surprise that Eilish takes inspiration from a wide range of places. One of these places is the pop-punk icons Green Day. A huge fan of the band since she was a child, in a 2019 joint interview with Rolling Stone, Eilish and Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, shared some mutual love for each others’ work.
Eilish revealed that her favourite Green Day track is actually the acoustic cut, ‘All by Myself’, which was the hidden track on the band’s classic record, 1994’s Dookie. In response, Armstrong quipped, “Oh, that’s Tré Cool!”, in reference to the band’s drummer who sings the song. “I know it is!” said Eilish before Armstrong appended, “That’s a dirty little song.”
The thematic parallels between Dookie and Eilish’s work make sense. Suburban classics such as boredom and self-doubt permeate the works of both, and given that Eilish has a sort of punk edge to her music, the influence of Green Day starts to make sense after her admissions to Armstrong.
It turns out that Eilish has been listening to the band since she was nine, as her Finneas was a fan of the band as a teenager, copying Armstrong’s “little undone tie and the guyliner”. “He was basically a downgrade of you,” Eilish recalled. “Well,” Armstrong responded, “He’s an upgrade now.”
Billie Eilish joins a long queue of artists that owe a lot of Armstrong and Co. Who knows? One day they might even tour together.
Listen to Green Day ‘Basket Case’. below.