Billie Eilish's Mysterious New Album Is Finally Here – This Is What Critics Are Saying So Far

Hit Me Hard And Soft is already being hailed as "her best work yet" and "miles ahead" of her pop peers.
Billie Eilish on stage at the Oscars in March
Billie Eilish on stage at the Oscars in March
Rich Polk via Getty Images

Given her career has been peppered with choices that make it clear she’d always rather do things her own way, we reckon it’s a fair bet that Billie Eilish isn’t too worried about reviews when it comes to her work.

That being said, if there were a part of her that was a little curious about what critics have to say about her latest offering, the nine-time Grammy winner would have a lot to be happy about on Friday.

Billie has just unveiled her intriguing third album Hit Me Hard And Soft, which came shrouded in mystery after she made the unusual choice not to release any music videos or singles ahead of time.

So far, reviews have ranged from “mostly positive” to “absolutely glowing”, with many hailing the Bad Guy singer’s new release as her best yet, praising the new directions she’s taken her music and her lyrical output, which somehow manages to be her most candid release to date.

Here’s a selection of what critics have had to say so far…

“In a year marked by baggy, poorly-curated, unexciting and frankly complacent releases from some of mainstream pop’s biggest stars, this kind of originality and risk-taking feels particularly welcome. Sure, we’re only halfway through the year, but so far, Eilish’s best album yet is miles ahead of the rest of the pop pack.”

“Parts of Hit Me Hard And Soft are completely transparent in their blatant themes and melodies, and parts are more mysterious and elusive… which all contributes to it feeling like a much fuller meal than the 10-song track list would indicate.”

NME (4/5)

“Hit Me Hard And Soft remains distinctly unique, a portrait of a singular talent entering young adulthood, exploring her queerness and experiencing the emotional thrill and (sometimes) catastrophe of chasing passion or falling in love. In trying to write an album for herself, she’s made one that will resonate harder than anything she’s done before.”

“An album that keeps wrongfooting the listener, Hit Me Hard And Soft is clearly intended as something to gradually unpick: a bold move in a pop world where audiences are usually depicted as suffering from an attention deficit that requires instant gratification. Hit Me Hard And Soft isn’t in the business of providing that.”

Billie Eilish in a publicity photo for her new album
Billie Eilish in a publicity photo for her new album

“Zealous outsider pop in a league of her own [...] the 10-track release sees a once-in-a-generation pop performer once again rewriting the rules.”

“Explicit, sapphic and her best work yet […] the young superstar’s sensual heartbreak masterpiece is great enough to stand alongside Joni Mitchell’s Blue.”

The Times (4/5)

“Eilish has displayed impressive confidence in herself by making such a characterful work at the height – and no, it has not passed its peak – of her career.”

“At just 22 years old, it’s hard to believe that Billie Eilish is already a veteran pop star who’s three albums and seven years deep into her career – but here we are. Hit Me Hard And Soft, her third and most skillful studio LP yet, arrived promptly at midnight [on Friday], bringing with it 10 new tracks about life under the spotlight, complicated friendships-turned-romances and Eilish embracing her sexuality.”

“[Billie Eilish] is an artist who has been her unapologetic self since the 2015 release of her debut single, Ocean Eyes. Nearly a decade later, she’s delivered the boundary-pushing record she was born to make.”

Eilish lifted the title of Hit Me Hard And Soft from the name of a sound effect in ProTool’s audio software kit. It’s a perfect fit for a record that whispers its way through a marvellous maze of music to deliver some big emotional wallops.”

Irish Times (3.5/5)

“This is an album with fewer immediately gratifying songs than its predecessors, although it’s also arguably a more sophisticated effort in many respects. Genre-bending? Not quite, but it’s certainly an evolution of an artist who remains a singular talent – and who, by all accounts, still doesn’t owe you a thing.”

USA Today (3/4)

“[Billie] and Finneas continue to mine her penchant for quirkiness (La Amour De Ma Vie, which rolls along sadly before kicking into a dance floor rave) and dreamy introspection (Wildflower and The Greatest, on which her simple declaration ‘I loved you and I still do’ shudders with piercing sadness) […] While moody pop is Eilish’s signature, her musical growth bursts through on Birds of a Feather.”


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