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Watch Billie Eilish’s Acoustic Performance of Bad Guy at the iHeartRadio Living Room Concert
Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas wrote and recorded her debut album When We Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? in a bedroom of their childhood home. “The bedroom has a very specific sound, very tight and intimate and closed and quiet. I love the way it makes vocals sound,” Finneas has said about their makeshift studio. “It was lovely to make an album there, but I think it’s really important to work wherever you are, or wherever you have your tools.”
From one room in their California home, they created a record that shook the music industry—sweeping the Grammys and turning Billie into a generation-defining star. Now, Billie and Finneas are back at that very home, like the rest of us, social distancing in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus that’s currently ravaging the country. And on Sunday night, iHeart and Fox hosted a living room concert series, which featured a number of intimate performances by musicians in an effort to raise money for coronavirus relief.
Billie and Finneas played an intimate performance alongside the likes of Dave Grohl, Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Billie Joe Armstrong, Camila Cabello, H.E.R., Mariah Carey and Sam Smith.
And though they didn’t play an emotional heart-wrenching ballad to capture these times like the other musicians involved did, there was something special about Billie and Finneas’s performance.
Here we see them casually lounging on their family’s couch. They’re playing a song that won two Grammys, that broke chart records, that was the best performing single of 2019. And they’re playing it in the same spot, under the exact conditions where it was written—with whatever acoustics created by that rust-colored couch with remotes on it and a shelf stuffed with records. In many ways in the setting it was meant to be heard. There’s something magical about hearing it in this way (the performance begins about 11 minutes into the video below), with their childhood photos in the background. It illuminates the quality of Billie’s voice, that kind of hushed, secretive tone but with nimble control, as if she honed her craft while trying not to bother their parents.
And for a few minutes, at least, I was immersed in this scene and forgot everything else in the world. It’s a nice moment of respite, and you can still donate to the cause here.
Matt is the Culture Editor at Esquire where he covers music, movies, books, and TV—with an emphasis on all things Star Wars, Marvel, and Game of Thrones.