Billie Eilish, the 18-year-old pop sensation, has been steadily rising in acclaim since she first began releasing music on SoundCloud. In her catalog of ethereal, emotional electropop hits she portrays herself as brash and combative-like in her smash hit “Bad Guy”, and this trend continued with her aggressively vivid video for “you should see me in a crown”, directed by collaborator Takashi Murakami.
Her recent single, “my future”, differs quite severely from these previous offerings not only in tone but in its presentation. In the video for “my future”, a much more serene depiction of Eilish wanders her way through a lush meadow and basks in the presence of nature, while the lyrics to her song promise she’s “in love with [her] future” and she “can’t wait to meet her”.
The rich colors and close-ups on dewy leaves have earned immediate comparisons from Eilish’s fans to the works of Studio Ghibli. Not only does nature play a huge role in the video, carefully shepherding the singer from a rainy moonlit night before quite literally entwining her in branches and holding her up to the sunlight. Along the way she encounters adorably round frogs, spiders weaving their webs, and a host of inquisitive, teeny-tiny plants that would be right at home in “My Neighbor Totoro” or “Nausicaa.”
The video was produced by the Melbourne-based Australian studio Chop Studio, who has worked on music videos for Hot Chip and produced advertising animation for famous series like Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty.” The video has been a huge success with Western fans, and even Eilish’s budding Japanese fandom seem delighted by the parallels.
While many users on Twitter compared the video’s content to Ghibli, Akira, or the Norse tree Yggdrasil, others lamented the change in style from Murakami’s 3-D computer graphics to a less outlandish, 2-D-esque aesthetic. There were certainly fans of the new style.
“This is [Billie Eilish’] first new song since February. The video for the song is animated, too. Artists give us fans gifts like this, even in the tough times… Taking all that imagination and channeling it into something expressive is the definition of being “artistic”. I really respect those who can do that. Anime is probably one of the best ways to motivate Japanese people, isn’t it?”
Everything can feel deeply overwhelming this year, but hopefully, the video for “my future” can help you unwind and remember that there’s plenty of hope waiting ahead.