Your Power

"Your Power"
Cover art for the official live performance of "Your Power": a three-quarter profile of Billie Eilish, who sports blonde hair and wears a cream-colored jacket. The song title appears above her head, written in orange and in a cursive font.
"Official Live Performance" cover
Single by Billie Eilish
from the album Happier Than Ever
ReleasedApril 29, 2021 (2021-04-29)
Genre
Length4:05
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Finneas
Billie Eilish singles chronology
"Lo Vas a Olvidar"
(2021)
"Your Power"
(2021)
"Lost Cause"
(2021)
Music video
"Your Power" on YouTube

"Your Power" is a song by American singer-songwriter Billie Eilish and the third single from her second studio album, Happier Than Ever (2021). It was released on April 29, 2021, through Darkroom and Interscope Records. A folk ballad backed by an acoustic guitar, the song is a plea for people to stop abusing their authority, and it mainly addresses men who exploit vulnerable women. Its lyrics narrate a damaging sexual relationship between a female high school student and an older man, exploring the topics of domestic abuse, sexual harassment, and statutory rape. Eilish wrote "Your Power" with its producer, Finneas O'Connell.

Named one of the best songs of 2021 in Variety and The Guardian, "Your Power" was praised for its candid songwriting, the emotional impact of its critiques of abuse, and the relevance of its lyrics to contemporary society. It won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Video with a Social Message in 2021. During its opening week, the song received 64.2 million streams and sold 8,600 digital copies worldwide. "Your Power" reached the top 10 in over 20 countries; it was Eilish's fifth top 10 song and third top 10 debut in the United States. It peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Global 200 chart, her second top 10 single there.

Eilish directed the music video for "Your Power", which premiered on the same day as the song's release. In it, she sings alone in the Simi Valley while an anaconda wraps itself around her. She first performed the song live on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and she included it in the set lists of a 2021 concert film and a 2022–2023 world tour in support of Happier Than Ever. Eilish also performed "Your Power" to protest the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the US Supreme Court, a landmark decision that removed abortion's status as a constitutional right in the country.

Background and release[]

Eilish during a 2020 red carpet event
Billie Eilish in 2020, the year in which she began working on her second studio album Happier Than Ever (2021).

At the age of 18, Billie Eilish won five awards at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards held in 2020. These include Album of the Year for her debut studio album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (2019).[1] It was a commercial success, debuting at number one on many national record charts and bringing her mainstream fame.[2][3] Eilish disclosed she would begin work on her second studio album in 2020.[4] Introducing it in an interview with Rolling Stone, she said that "almost none of the songs on this album are joyful".[5] Its lyrical themes include the unhealthy effects of fame and the struggles that young women experience in the entertainment industry, such as misogyny, power imbalance, and emotional abuse.[6][7][8] On April 27, 2021, Eilish announced the album's title was Happier Than Ever, and she revealed "Your Power" as the twelfth song on the track list.[9][10]

A day after the announcement, Eilish posted a nine-second snippet of the song to her social media accounts and previewed the visuals for its music video.[11][12] "Your Power" was released worldwide as a single from the album the next day. It is the third single from Happier Than Ever, after the 2020 songs "My Future" and "Therefore I Am".[13] In the caption for an Instagram post that accompanied its release, Eilish said it was one of her favorite songs she had written and its candid and personal lyrics made her feel vulnerable. She continued: "this is about many different situations that we've all either witnessed or experienced. I hope this can inspire change. Try not to abuse your power."[14][15] Darkroom and Interscope Records promoted the song to alternative and contemporary hit radio stations in the United States on May 4, 2021.[16][17]

After the song's release, Eilish gave an interview for the British ion of Vogue.[18][19] She talked about how her life had greatly changed since she was a child, as well as the negative aspects of fame and her struggles with self-acceptance.[20][21] Dubbing "Your Power" as an "open letter to people who take advantage", Eilish explained that it sought to discuss the confluence between sexual misconduct and body image. To further contextualize its themes, she stated that she was sexually abused during her childhood:[22]

I used to not understand why age mattered. And, of course, you feel like that when you're young, because you're the oldest you've ever been. You feel like you're so mature and you know everything … People forget that you can grow up and realize shit was fucked up when you were younger.

Music and lyrics[]

"Your Power" is primarily a folk ballad[a]—for Jordan Darville of The Fader, the song fell under the genre of indie folk.[27] It has a minimalist production that emphasizes Eilish's vocal performance;[28] she sings in a falsetto vocal register[29] and uses a soft vocal style, and there is a reverberating effect on her voice.[30] Acoustic guitars are the song's primary instruments.[31]

Critics observed a difference between its acoustic sound and the sound of Eilish's older works.[23][25][30][32] The Guardian's Alexis Petridis contrasted the production with what he described as the "electronic horror-movie soundtrack approach" of When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Furthermore, he argued that "Your Power" drew musical influences from the works of Mazzy Star and Lana Del Rey.[30] Other critics compared it to songs by the band America,[33] singer Phoebe Bridgers,[25][34] and artists from the Laurel Canyon music scene[35] based on its personal lyrics and acoustic composition.

The song is a plea for people to stop abusing their authority—it mainly focuses on men who take advantage of young and vulnerable women,[36] though Eilish wanted it to apply to exploited teenage boys as well.[37] "Your Power" explores the topics of domestic abuse,[37] sexual harassment,[38] and statutory rape.[39] Eilish warns in the chorus: "Try not to abuse your power / I know we didn't choose to change / You might not wanna lose your power / But having it's so strange";[40] the last chorus replaces the final line with "but power isn't pain".[41] The verses narrate an exploitative sexual relationship between a high school student and an older man that damages her self-perception.[23][35][40] Four lines read: "Does it keep you in control? / For you to keep her in a cage? / And you swear you didn't know / You said you thought she was your age."[18] Eilish questions if the man feels any sense of regret about the relationship.[24][42]

Eilish stops talking in third person during two lines to discuss her own experiences with sexual abuse, having been conditioned to blame herself for someone else's "devil[ish]" behavior.[32][43] She explained the lines by saying that abusers often blame the victim for their trauma and self-loathing, which in turn makes the victim blame themselves for what happened to them. In her view, victims should not feel embarrassed or responsible for the abusers' actions, especially if their brains have not fully developed and they cannot tell right from wrong.[44][45] "Your Power" also references exploitative power dynamics in the music and film industries: "Will you only feel bad if it turns out / That they kill your contract".[46] According to her, however, the song is not about her or a specific person from the music industry who abused her, highlighting that the mishandling of authority is a ubiquitous phenomenon: "I would like people to listen to me. And not just try to figure out who I'm talking about [...] You might think, 'It's because she's in the music industry'—no, dude. It's everywhere."[47][48]

Music video[]

Simi Valley
The music video for "Your Power" is set in the deserts of the Simi Valley.

Eilish directed the music video for "Your Power", which premiered the same day as the song's release. This marked the fourth time that she acted as director for her own music videos.[13] Within one week of release, the video amassed over 50 million views on YouTube.[14]

The video, four minutes long,[49] is set in a desert, specifically California's Simi Valley.[50][51] It depicts Eilish on her own as she sings the lyrics on a mountainside and a drone camera slowly zooms in towards her.[31][52] Later, an 80-pound (36 kg) anaconda appears and slowly wraps itself around Eilish,[49][53] as she utters the lines "Does it keep you in control? / For you to keep her in a cage?"[13] An Entertainment Tonight author interpreted the scene as a metaphor for the constricting nature of mishandled authority.[50] The camera zooms out and cuts to black as the anaconda tightens its grip around Eilish and the video comes to an end.[25]

Becky Zhang of Los Angeles magazine commented on the similarities between the music videos for "Your Power" and for Britney Spears's "I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet a Woman" (2002), including their sepia color schemes, their panoramic cinematography, and their performers' being alone throughout the video. Zhang also drew parallels between the social contexts in which the videos were made, arguing that Eilish and Spears were asserting their agency and independence as teenage girls transitioning into young adult women in a society dominated by the male gaze.[54]

Critical reception[]

Reviews[]

Music critics praised "Your Power" for its candid and confrontational songwriting, underscoring the emotional impact of its critiques of abuse and the relevance of its lyrics to contemporary society.[b] In four-star reviews of the song, NME's Rhian Daly and The Guardian's Alexis Petridis argued that the juxtaposition between its message's impact and simple, straightforward nature made the lyrics memorable.[30][32] Other critics opined that the lyricism in "Your Power" was a testament to Eilish's songwriting skills, which Jason Lipshutz of Billboard thought was "underrated [and] overshadowed by the other facts of her superstardom".[57][59]

Some music journalists also favored how "Your Power" portrayed abuse as a universal experience to which anyone can fall victim. They applauded the songwriting for mixing Eilish's personal life with political commentary about the different ways abuse of power is perpetuated everywhere, such as how prominent figures in the music industry still hold a high degree of influence despite receiving numerous allegations of workplace harassment.[23][34][60] Several of them analyzed the song within the context of #MeToo, a social movement started by women to expose and counter sexual misconduct by men in positions of power.[c] In the words of Rachel Brodsky of Uproxx: "Years after the #MeToo revolution of 2017, we're still having conversations about how the rich and powerful regularly abuse their authority. This is Billie's entry into the canon, with a painstakingly delicate track about [...] how we owe it to each other to change things for the better."[56]

The song's acoustic production and Eilish's vocal performance were also praised. Many reviewers felt like its simple musical style and soft vocals successfully emphasized the emotional impact that she sought to convey with her lyrics.[30][32][65] Some remarked that her pain and anger towards abusive men were evident in her voice.[32][66] Others called her voice angelic, pure, and dreamy, contrasting it with the perceived harsh and uncomfortable nature of the songwriting.[30][65] Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen of The Sydney Morning Herald analyzed why she found this difference in tone effective: "The clever trick employed here is that the delivery of these cutting sentiments often sounds sweet, which makes them feel somehow even more acidic."[67] In Petridis's view, it works because Eilish gets "under your skin rather than in your face."[30]

Accolades[]

Publications have regarded "Your Power" as one of the best songs in Eilish's discography. It was placed in the top 5 of listicles by Uproxx (4) and Rolling Stone (3), published in 2021 and 2022 respectively.[56][65] Consequence, NME, and MTV Australia ranked it within her top 15.[28][68][69] In addition, several publications listed "Your Power" as one of the best songs of 2021. These include Indie88 (81st out of 88),[70] Billboard (80th out of 100),[24] Consequence (19th out of 50),[71] and The Guardian (7th out of 20).[72] It appeared in individual critics' lists by Slate's Wilson (unranked top 40),[73] as well as Variety's Chris Willman (17th out of 50).[74]

"Your Power" received accolades for its lyricism. It won Video for Good at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs)[75] and another award of the same name at the 2021 MTV Europe Music Awards.[76] For her acceptance speech at the VMAs, Eilish called attention to women's rights issues, one of three musicians in the ceremony who made references to contemporary politics.[77] She urged viewers to "protect our young women at all costs" and reminded them that everyone holds some degree of power that they should never abuse.[78] The song received another nomination at the 2021 VMAs, specifically for Best Direction.[79] In 2022, it was nominated for Best Lyrics at the iHeartRadio Music Awards.[80]

Commercial performance[]

"Your Power" was a commercially successful single.[81] During its opening week, it entered the US Billboard Hot 100 chart at number 10. It was bolstered by around 22.2 million streams, a radio airplay audience of around 9.6 million, and around 4,500 digital copies sold. "Your Power" marked Eilish's fifth top 10 song and third top 10 debut in the United States,[82] as well as the third consecutive single from Happier Than Ever to reach the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.[83] Worldwide, it sold about 8,600 digital copies and was streamed about 64.2 million times in its first week. Approximately 42.7 million streams and 4,000 digital sales were from outside the United States. In the process, "Your Power" debuted and peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Global 200 and number 5 on the Billboard Global Excl. US. This gave Eilish her second top 10 in the two charts after "Therefore I Am", which peaked on both charts at number 2.[84][85]

"Your Power" received 2.1 million streams from UK listeners in the first half of its opening week, making it the country's number 1 trending song during the period and setting it on track for a top 10 debut.[86] Upon the week's conclusion, it became the highest new entry on the UK Singles Chart. Debuting and peaking at number 5, "Your Power" marked Eilish's seventh top 10 song in the United Kingdom.[87][88] It also entered the top 10 in Australia, her twelfth song to do so.[89] On the singles chart published by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA), "Your Power" debuted at its peak position of number 9.[90][91]

By the following week, "Your Power" had garnered over 150 million streams worldwide.[92] As time passed, it topped the national singles chart of Lithuania[93] and reached the top 10 of others in Finland (2),[94] Norway (2),[95] Ireland (3),[96] Sweden (3),[97] Switzerland (4),[98] New Zealand, (5),[99] Portugal (5),[100] Canada (6),[101] Latvia (6),[102] the Czech Republic (7),[103] Denmark (7),[104] Malaysia (7),[105] Singapore (7),[106] Slovakia (7),[107] Austria (8),[108] and the Netherlands (9).[109] The song has been certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI)[110] and certified platinum by the ARIA.[111] In December 2021, Billboard labeled "Your Power" as her eighth biggest song on the Billboard Hot 100.[112]

Live performances[]

A hallway in the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel, taken in 2022
The official live performance for "Your Power" was filmed at a hallway in the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel, chosen to evoke an intimate Old Hollywood aesthetic.

On May 11, 2021, Eilish appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert for her first live rendition of "Your Power". As with the music video, she performed the song in the middle of a desert. Accompanying her was her brother Finneas O'Connell, who played the acoustic guitar and provided additional vocals.[113][114][115] The two also featured in an official live performance of the song for Vevo that premiered via YouTube on July 18, 2021. Kyle Goldberg directed the video, set in a narrow hallway with walls entirely covered by curtains, and had it filmed all in one take.[116][117]

Eilish hoped to reinforce the stories present in Happier Than Ever's songs through visual media, using the official live performance for "Your Power" as an opportunity to do so. The video took place at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, selected to convey the intimate, Old Hollywood aesthetic she envisioned for the album. It was chosen to visually evoke the feeling of transitioning into adulthood, one of Happier Than Ever's primary themes, as well. To further this end, Eilish, who has synesthesia, was deliberate with choosing the color palettes for the set design. The curtains in the video are orange, juxtaposed against the golden interior of the hotel.[118]

Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell, holding their acoustic guitars
Eilish and Finneas performed "Your Power" during the acoustic interlude of a 2022–2023 world tour in support of Happier Than Ever, playing guitars while seated at center stage.

After the album's release, Eilish performed "Your Power" in Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles, a concert film that premiered on Disney+ on September 3, 2021.[119] She included it in the set list of a 2022–2023 world tour in support of Happier Than Ever.[120] Eilish, who used the song as the tour's midpoint interlude, sat down with Finneas to sing together and play acoustic guitars.[121] "Your Power" appeared in Eilish's headlining sets for three music festivals: Life Is Beautiful in 2021,[122] and Coachella and Glastonbury in 2022.[123][124]

Eilish also dedicated live performances of the song to express her views on political causes. She performed it with Finneas to show solidarity for Ukrainian peoples displaced due to the 2022 Russian invasion. The move was done in participation of the worldwide "Stand Up for Ukraine" rally on social media.[125][126] During that year's Glastonbury Festival, Eilish performed "Your Power" in defiance of the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the US Supreme Court, a landmark decision that removed abortion's status as a constitutional right in the country.[124][127] She spoke of the decision: "Today is a really, really dark day for women in the U.S. I'm just going to say that as I cannot bear to think about it any longer in this moment."[128]

Crs and personnel[]

Crs adapted from Tidal.[129]

Charts[]

Certifications[]

Certifications and sales for "Your Power"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[111] Platinum 70,000double-dagger
Poland (ZPAV)[155] Gold 25,000double-dagger
Portugal (AFP)[156] Gold 5,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[110] Silver 200,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history[]

Release dates and format(s) for "Your Power"
Region Date Format Label Ref.
Various April 29, 2021
[157]
Italy April 30, 2021 Radio airplay Universal [158]
United States May 4, 2021 Alternative radio
  • Darkroom
  • Interscope
[16]
Contemporary hit radio [17]

See also[]

Notes[]

  1. ^ Music critics who described "Your Power" as folk or a ballad include:
    • Vulture's Craig Jenkins: "It's a folk ballad with a timely message";[23]
    • Billboard's Josh Glicksman: "She's at her most vulnerable in the stripped-back, folky ballad";[24]
    • Clash's Robin Murray: "'Your Power' is a ... folk-hewn palette";[25]
    • and The Charlotte Observer's Théoden Janes: "she sang the chilling folk ballad 'Your Power'".[26]
  2. ^ Reviews of "Your Power" or Happier Than Ever that praised the song's writing include ones written by:
  3. ^ References that make a connection between the song's message and the #MeToo movement include ones written by:

References[]

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