Artists to Watch in 2019: Eilish Gilligan
I’ve got a soft spot for bold and glittery pop, and I’m also a Cancer. That’s my reasoning for why Melbourne singer-songwriter EILISH GILLIGAN has been one of my favourite finds of 2018, with her unique brand of ‘weird pop’ totally enamouring me. She’s already made it big to say the least – she supported Mallrat on her Australian tour earlier in the year before embarking on her first headlining tour supporting ‘Patterns’, and right now she’s supporting Japanese Wallpaper on another trip around the country. But Eilish Gilligan is such a one-of-a-kind talent I really think 2019 will be the year everyone gets as obsessed with her weird pop stylings as I was this year.
Way back in Feb of 2018 I covered ‘S.M.F.Y’, and it was one of those weird moments where I instantly knew I was going to adore this song. From the get-go it captures you with its manic pace and hopeful melodies that clash wonderfully with the melancholy lyrics. They weave in vivid details that might seem out of place but excel at placing you inside Eilish‘s headspace. Lacking a chorus, the song instead feels like an epic emotional journey condensed into a three-minute dose of synth-pop, and it’s honestly the best statement of Eilish Gilligan‘s talent. It’s a one-two punch of fantastic production and expert lyrics that is spell-binding with every listen.
‘Patterns’ back in June was Eilish Gilligan at her most bold and personal. The dissonant vibe is at its peak here, with the bright and glittery instrumental paired with the lyrical themes of existential panic as she realises she’s doomed to repeat the same mistakes. It might be because I’m weirdly into songs that are deceivingly positive, but the way Eilish blends these two tones together in such a seamless way is truly stunning. Aside from the melancholia, it’s a gorgeous pop song to boot, with a perfect balance between the bombastic chorus and downtrodden verses.
I feel like we’re seeing a rise in brutally honest pop – that is, pop that doesn’t romanticise or shy away from the things that effect all of us. Look at albums like Robyn‘s comeback Honey, and the brilliant Be The Cowboy by Mitski, whose single ‘Nobody’ is a fantastic example of this. Eilish Gilligan is our own homegrown master of this style, and she’s only getting better with each release. When I interviewed her back in August, she mentioned she had a lot of music in the pipeline, and whatever form it takes (although I’m praying for an EP) I know it’s going to be absolutely magical.
Words by MAX LEWIS