A certain internet kid and mastermind behind the prolific debut album, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? dropped a new single this week, and fans have been mulling over its lyrics for days since. Many have started to realize that Billie Eilish’s “everything i wanted” lyrics contain a mental health meaning that is both shocking and necessary for audiences to reckon with.
The haunting trapbeat track features Eilish’s voice at a whisper, and at first listen, its honeyed chorus might fashion it to your ears as a love song. And while it is a love song of sorts—a dedication to her older brother, Finneas, who she turns to whenever she’s struggling—”everything i wanted” is really about the promises and depressions of fame. Eilish fills her verses with nightmarish scenes of jumping off San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, hyperventilating in public, or screaming underwater. It’s a terribly haunting and candid expression of Eilish’s biggest fears throughout her battles with depression and anxiety.
“Pretty much that whole song is about me and Finneas’ relationship as siblings,” she told radio host Annie Mac recently. “We started writing it because I literally had a dream that I killed myself and nobody cared and all of my best friends and people that I worked with basically came out in public and said, like, “Oh, we never liked her.” In the dream, the fans didn’t care.”
“[In the dream] the internet shit on me for killing myself, all this stuff, and it really did mess me up,” she added. For some context, here are the lyrics that illustrate Eilish’s nightmare:
Thought I could fly (Fly)
So I stepped off the Golden, mm
Nobody cried (Cried, cried, cried, cried)
Nobody even noticed
I saw them standing right there
Kinda thought they might care (Might care, might care)
It’s pretty clear reading this verse that Eilish is depicting her worst social anxieties. But by its end, “everything i wanted” doesn’t settle into this perspective. Ultimately, Eilish says that “the message behind the song is like […] my brother is my best friend, and I have these dreams and these things happen, [but] no matter what happens, he’s gonna always be there for me, and it’s the same the other way around.” It’s a triumphant angle from the young L.A. star—but we wouldn’t expect any less. Already, she’s proving that she can champion the perspectives that matter most.
If you or someone you know has a mental illness, is struggling emotionally, or has concerns about their mental health, or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, there are ways to get help now. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.