Did Billie Eilish just jump into the race for song of the summer?



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With about a month until the official start of summer, the competition to create the season’s signature song may already be over thanks to Kendrick Lamar, whose deviously merry Drake diss “Not Like Us” seems certain to pour out of open car windows through September. Behind Lamar in the race are Sabrina Carpenter with the daffy “Espresso,” Tommy Richman and his viral “Million Dollar Baby” and Post Malone with not one but two superstar duet partners: Taylor Swift in “Fortnight” and Morgan Wallen in “I Had Some Help.”

But hold on — here comes Billie Eilish with a song from her new album that suggests she wants to play.

A breezy neo-new-wave jam, “Birds of a Feather” is one of 10 tracks on Eilish’s “Hit Me Hard and Soft,” which the 22-year-old pop singer debuted Wednesday night at a public listening party at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. She’ll host a second event Thursday evening at the Kia Forum in Inglewood before the LP lands on streaming services at 9 p.m. PDT. And though it’s not even out yet, “Birds of a Feather” sounds well on its way to becoming a hit.

Should we be surprised that Eilish is jumping into the fray? Statistically speaking, she’s had warm-weather hits before, not least the Grammy-winning “Bad Guy,” which topped Billboard’s Hot 100 in August 2019. Almost exactly a year later, “My Future” climbed to No. 6 on the same chart. And then there’s “What Was I Made For?,” the bleakly gorgeous piano ballad she dropped last July as part of the overwhelming cultural juggernaut that was “Barbie.”

But we’ve never really gotten a super-summery bop from Eilish, and that’s precisely what “Birds of a Feather” is. Over dreamy guitars and a tick-tocking beat, she addresses a lover — “my baby,” as she puts it — whom she’s wild about. Eilish being Eilish, she can’t resist framing the romance in somewhat creepy terms: “I want you to stay till I’m in the grave,” she sings, “Till I rot away, dead and buried / Till I’m in the casket you carry.” Good imagery!

It’s easy to imagine this song finding an immediate home on Top 40 radio, though Eilish herself has said she doesn’t plan to issue a proper single from “Hit Me Hard and Soft.” “This album is like a family,” she told Rolling Stone last month. “I don’t want one little kid to be in the middle of the room alone.” Programmers may play it anyway, of course, and the citizens of TikTok will do what they do with it.

Watch out, Kendrick.



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