How to do a Lyrical Breakdown

What is “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish about?

That is what the thorn I was going to remove from my brain today but..

But while crafting that analysis and researching if anyone else has already created such a work, the reality that no one one the first three pages of google has anywhere near a decent analysis is a far greater thorn.

If you don’t understand the language of a song

then you are listening to this song

and if that is the case all you should concern yourself with is the mathematical patterns in the harmonics… the deviations in the scale and the chords used… phonetically you can ignore the lyrics

but if you think in the same language as the song be it Thai, Portuguese, Pigeon, or Engrish

then listening to that song whether you are actively paying attention or passively distracted is almost the same as having those lyrics as your own thoughts.

This is why lyrical analysis’s are important. If you don’t think in the language of the music then the song is gibberish

But if you do…

And you want to ask someone what these thoughts mean…

That is not an unreasonable request.

As with any Art there will always be at least three meanings.

The first is the Author’s intent

This song is about taking power in a relationship

The second is the Listener’s personal interpretation (in this case mine)

This is a song about sexual abuse and the victim trying to take control of their victimization by trying to convince themselves that they wanted it. While struggling with the shame of being both a victim of the abuse and being socially punished for attracting such abuse.

Then there is the general interpretation

using as much data as is possible what does this song mean to a typical Gen Z, Millennial, or the population at large. What culturally relevant shared experiences do these demographics have that would frame the piece of music in question?

This is the type of breakdown I was going to do…

I’m not because it bothers me more that either no one knows how to do this type of breakdown

and no one even bothered to even give out there own personal interpretation.

Because if I had a few Gen Z’er’s personal interpretation and a few Millennial interpretations plus the Artist’s intent then a general interpretation would be relatively easy for me to triangulate.

SO FINALLY

here is how you analysis a song with your personal interpretation

First let the audience know what the Artist’s intent was. This will build credibility for the argument that your personal interpretation is the correct one.

Now present your interpretation

“Bad Guy” is about the singer pretending to be meek and girly in order to attract strong men who have fragile ego’s and can’t handle a real powerful woman.

Then using the lyric’s provide evidence for your position.

If you are actually and objectively trying to answer the Question

What is “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish about?

Then you will need to provide as many frames of reference as possible.

Gen X will see this song very differently than Gen Z

and then explain what it would mean to them and why

Gen X many of them might remember listening to Aqua’s “barbie girl” for the first time at their child’s birthday party and being horrified to hear their child singing along.

Baby Boomer’s haven’t heard this song

Millennial’s have an awkward position

and Gen Z likely knows about the Artist’s other works and how her process is not just herself but she comes from a musical family… which has impacted the shaping of her lyrics significantly. Billie Eilish is a master of her vocal craft but the source of her lyrics is highly collaborative.

that is the type of analysis I wanted to write but limited on the resource of time.

This is all I can offer at this point.

I tell you what though

If this post gets 100 likes before the end of August 2019

I will carve out the estimated 8-10 hours to do a proper analysis on

What is “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish about?

Or leave a comment asking for an analysis of any song in the Engrish language and the first to get 10 likes I will give my personal interpretation on.

With Love,

Hngyhngyhppo

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