The Lyrics to “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish Don’t Exactly Mean What You Think…01/24/2020
Even if you’re not an expert on all things Billie Eilish (which you should be, just saying), there is no way in hell you haven’t heard “Bad Guy.” Billie wrote the song with her brother, Finneas, and it surpassed “Old Town Road” on the Billboard Hot 100—which is a big f*cking deal, considering Lil Nas X owned the charts for months. And trust, she had no idea this was coming…
“What’s funny about it is I actually thought it would flop…because the chorus doesn’t have a hook—at least what we wrote as the chorus,” Billie told Billboard. “My brother and I actually sat in his room trying to write something else over that, but we couldn’t do it because nothing else worked. [We didn’t] want it to be empty there, but we were just like, ‘I don’t know if anyone’s going to like this, because there’s no lyrics here.’ For some reason, people do like it and it’s huge now. It’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever made. It’s my favorite to perform, it’s so fun. I’m so proud of that song.”
Kay, first of all, let’s listen to “Bad Guy”
Ya know, on the off chance it’s not already stuck in your head:
Next, let’s appreciate this tweet:
When you are in another teacher meeting and you can’t get Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy
” song out of your head. pic.twitter.com/xtsuFMthDO
And now, let’s break these lyrics TF down
Starting with the very first line:
Unclear where Billie drew the inspiration for the song’s epic intro, but as Genius points out, the video features her wearing a white shirt while having a nosebleed, so let’s assume she’s being literal here.
The song continues:
Right away, it’s clear that Billie is playing with power dynamics, not to mention some pretty mature sexual themes (reminder: She only just turned 18). But it also seems like she’s playing a character in a song that’s somewhat satirical.
“It’s basically making fun of everyone and their personas of themselves. Even mine,” Billie explained while chatting in the interview below. “The initial idea for the song is, like, people who have to tell everybody that they are a certain way all the time? They’re not that certain way….In general, I feel like you will never catch a bad bitch telling everyone she’s a bad bitch. It’s on—it’s you. If you’re going around all the time saying, like, ‘Yeah, I’m bad, I’m always breaking rules and doing this and doing that.’ You’re not. I know that because I used to say that and I wasn’t. Bad kids, bad boys, bad bitches, whatever, they do that sh*t and they don’t even know.”
Which brings us to the chorus:
So…that “might seduce your dad type” line has gotten some side-eye from more conservative fans (especially since Billie was underage when she wrote it):
I have nothing against Billie Eilish but her being a literal 12 year old and saying she’s the “might seduce your dad type” is highly unsettling. More like the you need to take a nap type
Billie eilish really out here sayin shes the might seduce your dad type lmao sis dont you have a geometry quiz tomorrow yr like TEN
But let’s focus on the “bad guy” part of these lyrics. Billie actually commented on ~what it all means~ in an interview with Billboard, saying, “It’s a weird thing to hear come out of a girl’s mouth. I think Nicki Minaj said in one of her songs that she’s the bad guy, and I didn’t realize that until recently. It’s such a cool juxtaposition of that sentence. Why do people resonate with it? I know why I resonate with it, but they’re all my own reasons.”
In verse two, Billie goes even deeper into power dynamics between her character and the dude she’s singing about. At least, that’s what I’m getting here. Agree?
She also makes it clear that her mom isn’t gonna love this song thanks to the provocative lyrics:
Kay, onto the bridge:
Billie again seems to question the way women are stereotypically painted in relationships—she’s wearing cologne, she’s dominant, and the other woman in this guy’s life is intimidated by her. In other words, this song rules and I’ll be singing it for the rest of the year, bye. Actually, before we go, fun fact: “Bad Guy” was recorded in Billie’s childhood home, which you can tour in the video below.
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