Dont Smile at Me
On Don't Smile at Me Billie Elish weaves a brand of art pop that is lush, dark and packed with ingenious wordplay. The young singer-songwriter (she's just 16!) makes good on the provocative title with a set of emotionally smoldering ballads delivered in a hushed yet defiant whisper that makes one think she has mastered the art of tuning out a world that annoys her on a frequent basis. Sonically, there's a lot going on here: where "Idontwannabeyouanymore," a meditation on sexism and the insecurities it unleashes, emits the most subtle of R&B touches, "Party Favor" plays out a voicemail breakup over a bed of strummed ukulele and crunchy hand claps. On top of all this, some of the tunes, like the slowly hypnotic "Ocean Eyes," are just drop-dead gorgeous and really show off her precocious songwriting skills within a largely electronic context.