Billie Eilish's Music Video Evolution, From "Ocean Eyes" To 'Barbie' (2024)

Billie Eilish's Music Video Evolution, From "Ocean Eyes" To 'Barbie' (1)

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Billie Eilish's Music Video Evolution, From "Ocean Eyes" To 'Barbie'

Call her director and stuntwoman.

by Steffanee Wang

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Billie Eilish’s six-year career, it’s that the pop star takes her job seriously. As the sole songwriter behind her melancholic, genre-defying sound, which she’s built alongside her brother Finneas, she’s also somewhat of a professional stunt person. Nowhere else does Eilish’s iron-clad commitment to her craft show the most than in her music videos, for which she’s gushed black liquid out from her orifices, filmed while submerged in water, and held a literal tarantula in her mouth, among other extreme feats.

Ahead of the arrival of the singer’s third album, Hit Me Hard and Soft which will surely bring its own breadth of eye-popping visuals — we decided to take a look back at Eilish’s impressive video catalog, which has seen her evolve from horror fan with a dark streak to a director with boundless vision.

“Ocean Eyes” (2016)

“Ocean Eyes” is Eilish’s first music video, and calling it simple would be an overstatement (she’s just singing into the camera as hands move a purple latex sheet behind her). But it was enough to captivate a millions-strong audience — maybe because of the intensity of that gaze.

Have you ever been on a beautiful, sunny stroll but then gotten stopped by police because you stuffed your friend’s bodies in the back of your car? Well, that’s what happens to Eilish in the video for “Bellyache” — pay attention to the lyrics — the first sign of the singer’s dark streak.

“when the party’s over” (2018)

Per Eilish, the black goop she drinks in “when the party is over” is a mix of Xanthum gum and charcoal water, a concoction she found “miserable.” She then had tubes taped to her inner eye ducts to deliver the tears — but all that effort came together for what’s still one of her most visually striking videos to date.

“you should see me in a crown” (2018)

Knowing that the singer loves spiders and even once owned one as a pet might make the viewing of Eilish’s terrifying but impressive “you should see me in a crown,” in which she lets a tarantula crawl in her mouth, more bearable. But then again — probably not.

“bad guy” (2019)

“Bad Guy” is the singer’s most colorful video to date but you can still count on the Billie classics: blood coming out the nose, creepy backwards crawling across the carpet, and decapitated heads (that are CGI, thankfully).

“all the good girls go to hell” (2019)

Billie Eilish slicked herself and 25-foot-long wings in black slime to deliver a message on climate change, and in turn, share her vision of what real music horror could look like.

“Xanny” (2019)

There might not be much going on in “Xanny” but it’s important as her first-ever self-directed video (she directed nearly every video after this). Sitting on a bench, she’s a bonafide ash tray for a bunch of hands putting out their cigs on her — a compelling vision for a first-time director.

“everything i wanted” (2020)

Dedicated to her brother Finneas, the music video for “everything i wanted” is genuinely one of Eilish’s saddest. In it, she emotionlessly drives them both into the ocean. It’s a simple premise, but impactful enough to compell multiple rewatches.

“Therefore I Am” (2020)

I know what you’re thinking: Are we ever going to see Billie happy for a change? Well, yes, in “Therefore I Am,” in fact, which sees her causing chaos in a deserted mall. Y’know, the teenage dream.

“Your Power” (2021)

Entering Eilish’s ‘Happier Than Ever’ era, we’re finally getting to see the star go outside and embrace nature. Great! But it’s still Billie, which means there’s also a real 80-pound anaconda slowly wrapping itself around her neck.

“Happier Than Ever” (2021)

As her sophom*ore album’s most beloved track, “Happier Than Ever” deserved a video spectacle to match, and it got one. An opulent indoor set gets demolished by water as Eilish swims out to safety, a stunt she did herself, of course. Then, she screams it out on top of a roof as it rains down around her. Out of all of her videos, this feels like Eilish at the apex of her powers.

“What Was I Made For?” (2023)

“What Was I Made For?” isn’t an official Billie Eilish release but its video marks a significant shift for the artist, hueing towards a pastel color palatte with no horror themes in sight. But it’s still powerful and not without message; dressed as a ‘50s secretary, Eilish puts away doll-sized miniatures of clothes she’s actually worn in public before a gust of wind threatens to blow them, and her, all away. Simple, but with a tinge of melancholy, a quality that might ultimately be Eilish’s signature.

Billie Eilish's Music Video Evolution, From "Ocean Eyes" To 'Barbie' (2024)
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