Billie Eilish - 'HIT ME HARD AND SOFT'

8/10

It was always going to be hard to imagine where Billie Eilish was going to go next. While her breakthrough debut LP 'WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?' cemented her as a far darker entity on the international pop scene, her follow-up 'Happier Than Ever' was a far lighter affair sonically, even if it did still explore more sombre and emotive lyrical content throughout. But now she seems to be blending those two sides together as she returns with her third studio album 'HIT ME HARD AND SOFT', a record that broadens her musical horizons further than ever.

Giving absolutely nothing away prior to this release, hardly even a snippet of any of the singles on it, 'HIT ME HARD AND SOFT' has been designed to be a complete surprise to us all. And from the off, it is clear to see why. Billie Eilish seems to have found that perfect middle ground between glossy pop sensibilities and her own need for brooding textures here. With a far more progressive direction that doesn't see any track looking to stand out in anyway, the release moves with this brilliantly subtle elegance to create a wonderfully cohesive sound, something that gives it a far fresher and innovative sound in the commercial sphere.

It may still be in the shadows of her earlier work, but 'HIT ME HARD AND SOFT' is a rousing return from one of the world's more interesting young artists. Clearly not resting on her laurels, she is keener than ever to evolve her sound, giving us a far more fascinating offering in the process.

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