Billie Eilish’s March 2019 debut album has cemented her place at the top of the pop charts. While the 17-year old singer-songwriter has amassed a huge following, one of the most enthusiastic sections of her fan base is YouTube’s ASMR community. And there’s a good reason why ASMRtists and their fans love Billie’s music so much: Her brand of bedroom pop blends in key aspects of ASMR to create a hyper-intimate music listening experience. We analyze how Billie uses principles of ASMR to craft her unique sound, and why this influence sets the musician apart from the rest of the pop scene — making her into the industry’s fastest-rising superstar.
To take a closer look at Billie’s ASMR appeal, we spoke to YouTube creator Gibi ASMR. In March 2019, Gibi was commissioned by Billie’s label to do a read-through of her LP “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?.” As Gibi points out, Billie’s ASMR influence isn’t limited to her use of creative sound samples, like dental drills and slurpy mouth noises (both popular sensory “triggers” in the online ASMR community). The singer-songwriter and her brother-slash-producer Finneas O’Connell have crafted a distinctly ASMR-inspired sound — with whispered, close-mic vocals; soft intonation; crisp sound design; binaural audio effects; and static-y electronic production. In this video we dissect chart-topping songs like “Bad Guy,” “Bury A Friend,” “Xanny,” and “All The Good Girls Go To Hell” to demonstrate how Billie’s vocals and Finneas’s production are specially designed to send shivers down your spine.
Finally, we take a look at the relationship between Billie’s music, ASMR, and a closely-related phenomenon known as music-induced frisson to explain the possible science behind why Billie’s music is so mesmerizing.