When the Party's Over (song)

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"When the Party's Over"
Billie Eilish - when the party's over.png
Single by Billie Eilish
from the album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
ReleasedOctober 17, 2018 (2018-10-17)
Length3:16
Label
Songwriter(s)Finneas O'Connell
Producer(s)Finneas O'Connell
Billie Eilish singles chronology
"You Should See Me in a Crown"
(2018)
"When the Party's Over"
(2018)
"Come Out and Play"
(2018)
Music video
"When the Party's Over" on YouTube

"When the Party's Over" (stylised in all lowercase) is the second single from American singer Billie Eilish's debut studio album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?. The song was released on October 17, 2018, through Darkroom and Interscope Records. It was written and produced by Finneas O'Connell.

Background and recording[edit]

The concept behind "When the Party's Over" was inspired after Finneas O'Connell, Billie Eilish's brother, had left his date's house "kind of for no reason" and was driving home alone late at night, simultaneous unhappy at the end of the relationship but also feeling a sense of safety through a lack of full investment in it.[1] O'Connell later approached Eilish with a draft of the track,[2] and they decided to perform it live "a full year before it came out," which O'Connell later recalled was "such a terrible idea" as he feared that fans would deem the studio recording inferior to the live version.[3] They consequently set out to "get the magic" of a live performance "into a space where it's still interesting to record," a process which O'Connell described as "really hard" due to the song's delicate nature.[3]

Eilish and O'Connell decided that the track would be "almost entirely" vocal, utilising only sub-bass and acoustic piano as additional instruments; this made it "super challenging" to keep each measure interesting.[4] The song required approximately 100 vocal tracks, which included the stacking of layers on each part of the harmony as well as "weird processed adlibs,"[4] while Eilish recorded over 90 takes of the song's first word "don't" to obtain the right sound.[5] The influence of choral music on the song was informed by the sibling's experience singing in a choir during their childhood, and Eilish disclosed that it was also inspired by the songs "Stand Still" (2017) by Sabrina Claudio, "715 - CR∑∑KS" (2016) by Bon Iver and "Hide and Seek" (2005) by Imogen Heap.[6]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

"When the Party's Over" is a bare-bones piano ballad[7][8] that acts as a departure from the electro and R&B beats of her earlier output.[9] Music publications have noted its hymnal-like qualities and use of bass, as well as its minimal instrumentation, which spotlight Eilish's vocal abilities.[7][10][8] Rolling Stone editor Ryan Reed highlighted the tracks's "atmospheric vocal harmonies,"[11] use of vocoder and Eilish's use of her high vocal register, while Nicole Engelman of Billboard wrote of the "angelic hums" that accompany the singer, whose voice "[swells] up from a whisper."[12] Chris DeVille of Stereogum compared the song to the work of Imogen Heap and Lana Del Rey.[10] According to sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the song is set in a 3
4
time signature with a tempo of 124 beats per minute. It is composed in the key of C# minor, with Eilish's vocal range between the notes of E3 and E5.[13]

Eilish has described the song as "kind of a sequel" to her single "Party Favor" (2018), documenting when "you're on the phone with someone and you can't hear them, they can't hear you, it's loud, they're mad at you for some reason" and consequently thinking: "You know what? Fucking leave me alone."[14] It discusses the end of a relationship, a common subject matter in the Eilish's previous work, with the singer wishing to be "more than a party of one;"[15][16] Suzy Exposito of Rolling Stone described it as one of the more sincere songs off her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (2019),[16] while Reed wrote that "each verse [grows] more mournful" as the song progresses[11] It opens with a sample of Eilish's debut single "Ocean Eyes" (2016), which Sean Ward of The Line of Best Fit argued demonstrated an "understanding of her own artistry."[17] No instruments accompany the vocals until the first chorus a minute into the track, where a sub-bass is introduced.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

"When the Party's Over" was well received by music critics. Suzy Exposito of Rolling Stone wrote that the track is one of the moments off When We All Fall Asleep where "Eilish can't help but draw back the curtain [...] and let you in."[16] Similarly, Sputnikmusic reviewer SowingSeason called it one of the "still frame moments when she allows herself to be heard not as the cynical teenage pop star, but rather as Billie the seventeen year old girl who's going through all the same things you are;" they also commended her "mesmerizing whispers and hums."[7] Billboard's Nicole Engelman praised the "haunting" song's "sharply insightful" lyrics, which she argued "demonstrate a maturity well beyond her 16 years of age."[15] Pitchfork editor Stacey Anderson commended the singer's vocal performance,[8] while Grant Rindner of Uproxx considered that the single proved "that she has one of the most arresting voices in pop."[18] Tanis Smither of Earmilk praised the song as "heart-wrenching," writing that it "somehow manages to maintain her brand of ballsy production and delicate, dreamy vocal."[19] The Austin Chronicle's Alejandra Ramirez wrote that the song was one of the moments where Eilish "flips the LP's most archetypal pop moments on their head."[20] Christopher Thiessen listed it as one of the album's standout tracks in his review for Consequence of Sound.[21] Insider placed it at number 4 on their list of Eilish's best songs on March 18, 2020, with Callie Ahlgrim describing it as "perfect blend of Eilish's fluttery, melancholic vocals and O'Connell's empathetic songwriting abilities."[22]

Music video[edit]

The music video was released on October 25, 2018. The video starts with Eilish sitting in a white room, before gulping down a cup filled with black liquid. Black tears start flowing down her cheeks, staining her outfit in the process. Towards the end of the video, the camera pans downwards, revealing that the black liquid started to stain the floor. Eilish claims that her inspiration for the video came from a fan art of a drawing of her with black eyes leaking. "I thought it was visually really dope and I wanted to physically create it."[23] It was directed by Carlos López Estrada.[24]

Covers[edit]

Dimitrius Graham covered the song during the top 10 reveal episode of the 17th season of reality competition American Idol. Australian indie pop band Cub Sport covered the song on Triple J for 'Like a Version' and continue to perform their rendition live. American post-hardcore band Our Last Night released a cover in January 2019. Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi released a cover in June 2019 for Spotify's live session.[25] Dutch duo W&W, under their NWYR alias, played their remix of the track in their set at Armin van Buuren's A State of Trance Festival 900 in Oakland, CA on June 29, 2019. Canadian singer Lenni-Kim included a cover in his album 18, released September 8, 2019. English singer-songwriter James Blake released his cover on March 9, 2020, on his Instagram and YouTube accounts.

In popular culture[edit]

The song was featured on Fox's medical drama The Resident in the second-season episode "The Unbefriended", as well as in an episode of the second season of the show On My Block, and in the last episode of season three of Riverdale. It was featured in season 2 episode 3 of the Netflix show Baby. The song is also featured in the second episode of Batwoman.[26] The song was featured at the end of Big Brother Canada season eight finale. Also features in Working Moms Season 4, Episode 8 on Netflix. It was also featured in episode 3 of season one of Control Z. The song is also extensively used in the one-off BBC iPlayer drama 'Make Me Famous'

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[27]

  • Billie Eilish – vocals
  • Finneas O'Connell – producer, songwriter, backing vocals, bass, percussion, piano
  • John Greenham – mastering engineer, studio personnel
  • Rob Kinelski – mixer, studio personnel
  • Casey Cuayo – assistant mixer, studio personnel

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Ceremony Category Result Ref.
2018 Norway GAFFA Awards Best Foreign Song Nominated [28]
2019 Clio Awards Music Videos Gold [29]
MTV Video Music Awards Best Visual Effects Nominated [30]
UK Music Video Awards Best Pop Video – International Nominated [31]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[79] 5× Platinum 350,000double-dagger
Austria (IFPI Austria)[80] Platinum 30,000*
Belgium (BEA)[81] Platinum 40,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[82] 4× Platinum 320,000double-dagger
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[83] Platinum 90,000double-dagger
France (SNEP)[84] Gold 100,000double-dagger
Germany (BVMI)[85] Gold 200,000double-dagger
Italy (FIMI)[86] Platinum 50,000double-dagger
New Zealand (RMNZ)[87] 2× Platinum 60,000*
Norway (IFPI Norway)[88] 2× Platinum 120,000double-dagger
Poland (ZPAV)[89] 2× Platinum 40,000*
Portugal (AFP)[90] Platinum 20,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[91] Gold 20,000double-dagger
Sweden (GLF)[92] Platinum 8,000,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[93] Platinum 600,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[94] 4× Platinum 4,000,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
United States February 26, 2019 Contemporary hit radio Interscope [95]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]