Billie Eilish - Bad Guy - 2019


Billie Eilish's "Bad Guy" is a song that took the world by storm in 2019, becoming a defining track of the year and catapulting Eilish into the global spotlight. This course module explores the song, its creation, the lyrics, and the impact it has had on music and popular culture.


"Bad Guy" is a song by American singer Billie Eilish, released as the fifth single from her debut studio album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? in 2019. Written and produced by Eilish and her brother Finneas O'Connell, the song is known for its innovative production and dark, playful lyrics. It blends elements of pop, electronic music, and trap, characterized by its minimalistic production, featuring a bass-heavy beat and a synthesizer melody.

The Making of "Bad Guy"

The creation of "Bad Guy" showcases the close collaborative process between Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas. They recorded the song in Finneas's small bedroom studio, proving that hit music can be made outside of traditional studio settings. The song's production is noted for its use of unconventional sounds, including a sampled Australian pedestrian crossing signal.

Lyrics and Themes

The lyrics of "Bad Guy" play with the idea of subverting traditional pop narratives, portraying Eilish as the antagonist or "bad guy" in a cheeky and ironic manner. The song's lyrics have sparked discussions about gender roles and the portrayal of women in music, making it a subject of analysis and debate.


"Bad Guy" received critical acclaim for its innovative sound and became a commercial success, topping the charts in multiple countries. It played a significant role in defining the music trends of 2019 and contributed to the conversation around the changing landscape of pop music. The song's success also marked Billie Eilish as a leading voice of her generation in music.

Music Video

The music video for "Bad Guy," directed by Dave Meyers, is as memorable as the song itself, featuring vibrant colors, surreal imagery, and Eilish's distinctive visual style. It has been praised for its creativity and the way it complements the song's themes.

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

What year was "Bad Guy" released? (2019) (!2018) (!2017) (!2020)

Who produced "Bad Guy" along with Billie Eilish? (Finneas O'Connell) (!Justin Bieber) (!Max Martin) (!Diplo)

Which album includes "Bad Guy"? (When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?) (!Don't Smile at Me) (!Happier Than Ever) (!The End of the World)

What unique sound is featured in the production of "Bad Guy"? (A sampled Australian pedestrian crossing signal) (!A door creaking) (!A car horn) (!A dog barking)

How does "Bad Guy" challenge traditional pop narratives? (By portraying Eilish as the antagonist in a playful manner) (!By focusing on romantic love) (!By avoiding any form of electronic beat) (!By using classical instruments only)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

What is Billie Eilish's full name? (Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O'Connell) (!Billie Elizabeth Eilish) (!Billie Eilish O'Connell) (!Billie Eilish Smith)

How old was Billie Eilish when "Bad Guy" was released? (17) (!18) (!16) (!19)

Which of the following is a unique aspect of Billie Eilish's music production process? (Recording in a bedroom studio) (!Using a full orchestra) (!Recording exclusively in professional studios) (!Never collaborating with other artists)

Billie Eilish is known for which of the following in her music videos? (Creative and surreal imagery) (!Simple and minimalist visuals) (!Historical reenactments) (!High-speed car chases)

What is a recurring theme in Billie Eilish's songs? (Subverting traditional narratives) (!Celebrating fame and fortune) (!Covering classic songs) (!Focusing on rural life)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

Which line follows "I'm the bad guy, duh"? ("I like it when you take control") (!"You should see me in a crown") (!"So you're a tough guy") (!"I'll be your animal")

What does Billie playfully claim to be in the song? (The bad guy) (!The hero) (!A bystander) (!A lost cause)

How does the song's bridge shift its tone? (By slowing down and becoming more introspective) (!By increasing tempo and adding more instruments) (!By shifting to a major key) (!By introducing a guest rapper)

Which theme is NOT directly addressed in "Bad Guy"? (Romantic love) (!Power dynamics) (!Gender roles) (!Irony and subversion)

What is a key element of the song's lyrical style? (Irony and playful mockery) (!Straightforward storytelling) (!Deep philosophical questions) (!Detailed narrative of a journey)


Song Release Year 2019
Producer Finneas O'Connell
Album Name When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Unique Sound Australian pedestrian crossing signal
Video Director Dave Meyers

Open Tasks


  1. Explore the impact of bedroom production: Research and write a paragraph on how "Bad Guy" and other songs produced in non-traditional settings are changing the music industry.
  2. Analyze the music video: Watch the "Bad Guy" music video and describe its visual themes and how they contribute to the song's narrative.


  1. Gender roles in music: Write an essay on how "Bad Guy" challenges traditional gender roles in pop music.
  2. Billie Eilish's influence: Create a presentation on Billie Eilish's impact on modern pop music, focusing on her innovative production techniques and lyrical themes.


  1. Create your own music track: Using digital audio software, try to create your own song that captures the essence of "Bad Guy," focusing on minimalist production and innovative sounds.
  2. Direct a music video: Plan and storyboard a music video for your original song, taking inspiration from the creativity and surreal imagery of Billie Eilish's videos.

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Oral Exam

  1. Discuss the significance of "Bad Guy" in Billie Eilish's career: How did the song contribute to her image as a pop music icon?
  2. Analyze the song's production: What makes the production of "Bad Guy" stand out in the landscape of contemporary pop music?
  3. Explore the themes of "Bad Guy": How do the song's lyrics reflect broader societal themes?
  4. Impact of music videos on song perception: How does the music video for "Bad Guy" enhance or change the listener's perception of the song?
  5. Evolution of pop music: Where does "Bad Guy" fit within the evolution of pop music in the 21st century?

OERs on the Topic


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