Wait—So This Is What Billie Eilish’s ‘Bad Guy’ Actually Means

Aramide Tinubu
Billie Eilish
Photo: Sutterstock.

We’ve been listening to this bop for months–but the real meaning of Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” has been revealed. Honestly, we’re a bit shooketh. The song, which Billie wrote with her brother Finneas just broke through  Lil Nas X’s absolutely dominating “Old Town Road” which floated on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for 19 weeks.

Like Lil Nas X–Billie has literally no clue that she had a mega-hit on her hands. “What’s funny about it is I actually thought it would flop…because the chorus doesn’t have a hook—at least what we wrote as the chorus,” Billie told Billboard. “My brother and I actually sat in his room trying to write something else over that but we couldn’t do it because nothing else worked. [We didn’t] want it to be empty there, but we were just like, ‘I don’t know if anyone’s going to like this, because there are no lyrics here.’ For some reason, people do like it and it’s huge now. It’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever made. It’s my favorite to perform, it’s so fun. I’m so proud of that song.”

So we all know that “Bad Guy” is a bop. But WTH does any of it mean?

The song starts:

Sleepin’, you’re on your tippy toes
Creepin’ around like no one knows
Think you’re so criminal
Bruises on both my knees for you
Don’t say thank you or please
I do what I want when I’m wanting to
My soul? So cynical

Though she’s only 17–Billie is clearly playing with power dynamics here.

“It’s basically making fun of everyone and their personas of themselves. Even mine,” Billie explained to Billboard. “The initial idea for the song is like people that have to tell everybody that they are a certain way all the time? They’re not that certain way. […] In general, I feel like you will never catch a bad bitch telling everyone she’s a bad bitch. It’s on—it’s you. If you’re going around all the time saying like, ‘Yeah, I’m bad, I’m always breaking rules, and doing this and doing that.’ You’re not. I know that because I used to say that and I wasn’t. Bad kids, bad boys, bad bitches, whatever, they do that sh*t and they don’t even know.”

The song continues

I like when you get mad
I guess I’m pretty glad that you’re alone
You said she’s scared of me?
I mean, I don’t see what she sees
But maybe it’s ’cause I’m wearing your cologne.

Basically “Bad Guy” is about women subverting the stereotypes that are placed upon them in relationships. She told Billboard,

It’s a weird thing to hear come out of a girl’s mouth. I think Nicki Minaj said in one of her songs that she’s the bad guy, and I didn’t realize that until recently. It’s such a cool juxtaposition of that sentence. Why do people resonate with it? I know why I resonate with it, but they’re all my own reasons.