Billie Eilish has released two new songs, “TV” and “The 30th,” to streaming services under the umbrella title of “Guitar Songs.”
“TV” has already captured fans’ attention after she premiered it live in the UK in June on her “Happier Than Ever” tour, but “The 30th” will come as new to all listeners. Watch the lyric videos for both songs, below.
“Finneas and I really wanted these to be yours as soon as possible,” Eilish said in a statement, mentioning her producer/co-writer brother. “So here they are! Performing ‘TV’ on tour was such a highlight for us too, so we took the audio from the first night we played it in Manchester and put it in the song. I get shivers every time I hear it. Hope you love the songs and thank you for letting us share our music with you.”
“The 30th” describes in specific detail the aftermath of an accident involving someone close to the singer, and her relief that the loved one survived, with the tenderly sung lyrics including: “And I know you don’t remember calling me / But I told you even then you looked so pretty / In your hospital bed / I remember you said you were scared / And so am I.” Eilish even describes passing the scene of the accident on the Golden State Freeway, not knowing who it involved: “And I stand still on the 5 / Thought it was unusual, the early traffic / Usually I don’t panic / I just wanted to be on time / When I saw the ambulances on the shoulder / I didn’t even think of pulling over / I pieced it all together late that night.”
In an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe about the two new songs, Eilish did not go into detail about the subject of the song but did describe its writing. “We wrote that on Dec. 30, and that was actually the first song that we had written since ‘Happier Than Ever’. That’s why it’s called ‘The 30th,’” she said, “because something happened on Nov. 30 and it had just been the most indescribable thing to have to witness and experience. I had been writing down all these thoughts that I was having. I was with Finneas, and I was like, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know what you were planning on doing, but we need to write this song about this right now,’ and we did, and that was the first song we wrote since ‘Happier Than Ever’.”
“TV,” as fans know, leans more toward sociopolitical commentary. Its debut in performance last month came as a surprise since artists are increasingly reluctant to try out new material that will instantly land on YouTube, but as it turned out, her followers didn’t have to wait long for an official release. “We haven’t played a new song live before it’s out since 2017 or 2018,” Eilish had told concertgoers at the time.
The “studio” version is partly a live track, as Eilish indicates; the finale of the song includes the vocals of the audience singing along at Manchester’s AO Arena.
Eilish told Lowe that these two new songs are all she has in the can, and there is no album in progress at present, although she hopes to record one before the year is up.
“We’re going to hopefully make another album in the next year,” Eilish said. “I hate to say this because I know it’s a disappointment to people that think, ‘Oh my God, they’re making an album. It’s going to come out soon.’ ‘TV’ and ‘The 30th’ are the only songs we have. We don’t have any other songs. These songs are really current for me, and they’re songs that I want to have said right now. I was talking to Finneas and I was like, ‘You know what, man? I don’t want to wait until the next album cycle to put these songs on an album and then it’s like, ‘Wow, we have these two guitar songs that are two years old.’”
Of “TV” referencing the Roe v. Wade reversal by the Supreme Court, the singer said, “We wrote that line a few weeks before it was officially overturned. It was a placeholder of doom. I mean, it was the day of Glastonbury that it happened… We were at this house, and I was sitting with the dogs in the grass. My mom came out, and she just stood there, and she went, ‘They overturned it.’ …God, it was like a curtain of doom. I mean, there was almost no even reaction. I had this — I guess now that I think about it — unrealistic hope that that wouldn’t happen. We wrote that line when the news got out about the fact that they’re considering overturning it, and we wrote that line then. It’s a really scary world right now.”
Watch the videos here: