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 just surpassed "Old Town Road" on the Billboard Hot 100—which is a big f*cking deal considering Lil Nas X has been owning 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:
And now, let's break these lyrics TF down:
Starting with the very first line:
"White shirt now red, my bloody nose"
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 nose bleed, so let's assume she's being literal here.
The song continues:
"Sleepin', you're on your tippy toes
Creepin' around like no one knows
Think you're so criminal
Bruises on both my knees for you
Don't say thank you or please
I do what I want when I'm wanting to
My soul? So cynical"
Right away it's clear that Billie is playing with power dynamics, not to mention some pretty mature sexual themes (reminder: she's 17). 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 that 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 you're a tough guy
Like it really rough guy
Just can't get enough guy
Chest always so puffed guy
I'm that bad type
Make your mama sad type
Make your girlfriend mad tight
Might seduce your dad type
I'm the bad guy
So...that "might seduce your dad type" line has gotten some side-eyes from more conservative fans (especially since Billie was underage when she wrote it):
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?
"I like it when you take control
Even if you know that you don't
Own me, I'll let you play the role
I'll be your animal"
She also makes it clear that her mom isn't gonna love this song thanks to the provocative lyrics:
"My mommy likes to sing along with me
But she won't sing this song
If she reads all the lyrics
She'll pity the men I know."
Kay, onto the bridge:
"I like when you get mad
I guess I'm pretty glad that you're alone
You said she's scared of me?
I mean, I don't see what she sees
But maybe it's 'cause I'm wearing your cologne."
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 summer, bye. Actually, before we go, fun fact: "Bad Guy" was recorded in Billie's childhood home which you can tour in the video below.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.