Billie Eilish finishes her breakout year with a Vince Staples collab
16-year-old pop prodigy BILLIE EILISH continues the momentum of her breakout 2017 by dropping a collaboration with Vince Staples, ‘&burn’. Produced by Eilish’s brother, the track is a companion piece to, and radical reworking, of the single ‘watch’ from her debut EP, dont smile at me.
In an interview, Eilish explained how the collab came together: “We ended up producing two separate and completely different versions. This version felt like it would be perfect with someone as a feature. Vince Staples was my NUMBER 1 choice, so when we got him to hear it and he agreed to do it, it was incredible”.
It’s a natural pairing: a left-of-field popstar meets the rapper who dropped (arguably) the most innovative, forward-thinking hip-hop album of the year in Big Fish Theory. The result is a minimal, moody slow-burner that strips out the piano-driven buoyancy of the original in favour of a sparse backdrop populated by throbbing bass lines, booming bass drums and skittering hi-hats, warped vocals and some lingering white noise. It continues Eilish’s Lorde-like streak/habit/trend of smuggling more experimental, unconventional production techniques into the mainstream via her hook-laden pop songs.
More than anything, the ensuing collaboration mostly demonstrates Eilish’s maturity and sense of artistic control: Vince is never allowed to outshine her on her own track, but instead delivers a short, icy guest verse with his typically understated persona that perfectly complements the track’s nocturnal energy. Like the best collaborations, Vince naturally works himself into the track, rather than leaving you to feel as if the track has worked desperately to superficially accommodate him. It’s a mark of her growing confidence as a songwriter that Eilish can so effectively flip this power dynamic on its head – you might come for Vince, but you stay, and you keep coming back again and again for Billie.
After racking up accolade after accolade in 2017, and landing herself on countless lists of artists to watch for next year, Eilish will be heading to Australia for Laneway Festival on only her second Australian tour in early 2018. Find those dates below, and purchase tickets here.
‘&burn’ is out now – you can buy it or listen here.
St Jerome’s Laneway Festival
Friday, February 2 | St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Adelaide SA
Saturday, February 3 | St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Melbourne VIC
Sunday, February 4 | St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Sydney NSW
Saturday, February 10 | St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Brisbane QLD
Sunday, February 11 | St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Fremantle WA
WORDS BY KYLE FENSOM