The Student News Site of Pinewood School

The Perennial

The Perennial

The Perennial

Flat Earth Fever: Pinewood’s New Cult or Just a Roundabout Misunderstanding?
Didem Becer, Staff Writer • May 3, 2024
Behind the Catchphrases of Math Teacher Stuart Hamilton
Rishi Chen, Staff Writer • May 3, 2024
Innocent Chemistry Prank Goes Terribly Wrong
Addison Parenti, Staff Writer • May 3, 2024

“What Was I Made For:” Billie Eilish’s Masterpiece

Violet on the Emotional Impact Eilish’s Lyrics Have and How They Relate to Her Life
Leela Jarschel

   “I don’t know how to feel” are one of the words in Billie Eilish’s song “What Was I Made For.” While the lyrics may be simultaneously enlightening and cryptic, I am well aware of how to feel about this song. Because of the song’s impactful message about humanity, I believe “What Was I Made For” was made for an Oscar award and endless recognition.

   I first heard the soft lilt of Eilish’s voice on the radio over the summer and, since then, I’ve listened to the song enough times to begin to understand the complexity behind its lyrics, music video and message. To me, the song depicts what it is like to be young and alive. To be confused and enlightened, in love and heartbroken, surrounded and utterly alone. In the past few months, I’ve gone through every one of those emotions, and this song perfectly encapsulates my thoughts after every encounter.

   In other words, this song celebrates the complexity of living in this time. In the context of “Barbie,” the movie for which the song was created, “What Was I Made For” holds a special meaning for young women. “Barbie” was directed by a woman who sought to deconstruct the misogynistic narrative around a doll. She cleverly plays “What Was I Made For” while the main character is becoming enlightened about the truth of humanity. Humans construct conflict and forge friendships and, in doing so, create meaning. With this in mind, the song shifts to discuss the inability to consistently achieve pure joy, singing, “Think I forgot how to be happy, something I’m not, but something I can be.” Eilish’s words are mournful, but simultaneously instill hope in the listener. For every individual, life is convoluted and difficult, but our imagination and hope can breed greatness. Finally, the song continues while looking through a camera lens at images of humans simply existing as we always have: surrounded by others, interacting and learning, living and growing.

   In several interviews, Eilish talks about the difficulty of singing the song in the desired pitch. Despite having an embarrassingly limited singing vocabulary, I can only describe her voice as breathless and commanding at the same time. Eilish’s voice is soft as though sharing a secret, but her words also pierce through the lulling piano in the background. Her music video is similarly eerie and powerful. The video depicts Eilish sitting alone at a table in a saffron vintage dress, stark against an ash background. The contrast itself highlights the conflict between the joys and sorrows of life. For the duration of the song, Eilish simply withdraws miniature outfits from her career, one after another. But as the song progresses, an alien wind dismantles her precarious setup and the work that has defined Eilish. It is as if Eilish spent the video speculating on what has defined her for so long until something forces her to rethink her image. She also reflects on the long and winding path that had led her to that barren room. Her thoughts stripped bare, Eilish sits alone and faces her past.

   The song’s final verse reflects on her inability to be happy in the domineering world of today. While relatable and sorrowful, her song continues to end on a hopeful note that looks to an uncertain future that awaits us all. I think this perfectly epitomizes the conundrum of being a human with the rest of our lives constantly weighing in the back of our minds.

   In all fairness, my interpretation of the song could be woefully inaccurate, but I think that’s also part of the song’s appeal; there is no correct analysis of its meaning. For every listener, the song reshapes itself into a puzzle to contemplate the meaning of being human.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All The Perennial Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • F

    F. BeauregardMar 13, 2024 at 2:59 pm

    Billie Eiilish song, What was I made for, Is the beautiful and touching song that I have heard!!! I love that song so much!! It has so much feeling in it!!. Bless her♥️♥️