'NDA' review: Billie Eilish tackles ill-effects of fame, racing cars
Billie Eilish released the fifth track NDA from her album Happier Than Ever today, and we got our favorite teen pop artist belting out a melody about the darkest of issues again. The song talks of stalkers, making "pretty boys" sign non-disclosure agreements, and possibly switching careers. The 19-year-old Grammys winner has directed the video, and it is as haunting as it's crazy.
Eilish paints a picture of toxic celebrity culture, where she has to pay for security as a "stalker walkin' up and down the street." Not being able to go outside freely, she ponders about finding a new career at someplace she can be invisible. The chorus, "You couldn't save me, but you can't let me go," is the most arresting portion of the song.
Aiding the screeching, slightly disturbing instrumentals is an equally weird visual. Now weird and disturbing are two elements frequently associated with Eilish's music videos, which are meant to shake us from our comfortable stupors. Even though Eilish actually walked through the roadway at night with 25 cars, driven by trained drivers, whizzing past her, the video is comparatively less impactful than her previous works.
Once again completely produced and written by Eilish and her brother Finneas, NDA is a callback to her usual music. Also, the lyrics of NDA give a nod to three other tracks- Getting Older, I Didn't Change My Number, and My Future. The complete second studio album will drop on July 30.
She speaks about depression, sleep paralysis, suicide, and other dark topics in her songs. Here, it seems Eilish is going for the contradictory, as she's unperturbed while revealing self-referential facts in NDA. Her teary album cover (Happier Than Ever) is another example. While the video isn't memorable, the song takes a few listens to get used to. Verdict: 4 stars (song), 3.5 (Music video).