(Header image via YouTube.)
On Thursday, July 30, Billie Eilish released her new song “my future” along with an anime-inspired music video. The song is about Billie moving on from who she used to be, though she isn’t sure yet who she will become. The song’s happy sound and message contrasts with some of her earlier songs like “idontwannabeyouanymore,” in which Eilish was discontent and insecure with who she saw herself to be. The chorus of “my future” best conveys the overall theme of the song:
'Cause I, I'm in love
With my future
Can't wait to meet her
And I, I'm in love
But not with anybody else
Just wanna get to know myself
Eilish is in love with what her future might bring, and she plans on “getting to know herself” to the point where the person she’ll become is ready to handle whatever the future may bring. In an email to fans, she explains:
the future feels uncertain and crazy right now. but i think we need to be ready to put the work in, and if we do that, we should be hopeful and excited for our future…the future is ours.
It’s ok to be alone
I know supposedly I'm lonely now
Know I'm supposed to be unhappy
But aren't I someone?
After the first half of the song, which had a melancholy tone with lyrics about the negative relationship she had with her past self, the second half brings in a peppy beat and equally peppy lyrics about moving into her new self. This dichotomy is also represented in the video, with the first half showing Eilish sitting in a blue rainy forest and the second half showing her walking around as the sun comes out and plants grow all around her.
Eilish moves on from these feelings by choosing to focus on herself above others. In an interview with Apple Music, Eilish talked about how dependent she used to be on other people for a sense of value. She also talks about the surprising benefits of intentional solitude and self-reflection, given how rarely people talk about it. While stats may say that Gen Z is lonelier than previous generations, there is a big difference between loneliness and solitude. Eilish’s decision to focus on herself is also fed by the realization that she doesn’t have to be in a romantic relationship to be happy and fulfilled.
Intentional self-improvement can be a great thing, and learning that our value doesn’t come from our romantic relationships is even better. Eilish isn’t wrong to be excited about these things; it’s just that there’s even more to what we were made for. As Christians we know that apart from God, we will never have everything we need to flourish. In Matthew 10:39, Jesus states emphatically, “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” It’s not enough to simply love ourselves; we’re invited to walk into a beautiful identity and secure future in the Lord. Does this mean our futures are ready-made and easy? No, but it does mean that we’re safe in the hands of our loving Father.
So when discussing this song with your teen, embrace the good in what Billie Eilish is saying, but bring it that step further. What would it look like for our teens to fully see themselves through the lens of God's grace, love, and awesome identity? What would it look like for them to root their future selves in His power, rather than their own power?
How do I talk to my teen about it?
Eilish is one of Gen Z’s biggest influencers, and critiques of her music may be taken personally by them. She’s frequently been outspoken about mental health and her struggles with it, including in her music. Her relatability and honesty establishes her authenticity, a trait that Gen Z intently looks for when determining credibility. In the midst of our nation’s unrest, and with a new coronavirus-altered school year rapidly approaching, your teen may be feeling uncertain and anxious about their future. We hope that this song about excitement for what’s to come can help give your teen a positive mindset. Listen to the song, watch the video, and use these questions to get the conversation going!
- Have you heard “my future”? Did you like it? Why or why not?
- Do you enjoy being alone, or do you feel better when you’re around people? Is there a healthy balance between the two? Should there be?
- Do you feel pressure to be in a relationship with someone? Why or why not?
- Do you think being with other people (friend or significant other) hinders you from being able to get to know yourself and personally grow?
- What does personal growth mean to you?
- What kinds of things are you anxious or uncertain about regarding your future? What do you turn to for finding hope in that uncertainty?
- What does God say about your future?
- Does having a relationship with God impact the way you look at your future? How so?