Billie Eilish holds the award for Best Music (Original Song) for “No Time to Die” as she attends the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party following the 94th Oscars on March 27, 2022. (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
MUSIC

When Billie Eilish Hits the Charts, it’s Never Time to Die

Eilish and brother Finneas may have been victorious at the 94th Academy Awards. But when it comes to her impact in the music industry, “No Time to Die” is more than just a song title.

Billie Eilish doesn’t know any other way.

Eilish organically imposed her will on mainstream music by uploading “Ocean Eyes” to SoundCloud in 2016 at 14 years old. From that moment on, “viral” has unofficially become her fourth middle name.

The dark pop provocateur was asked about her growth Sunday night when she met with the press alongside Finneas O’Connell, her super-producer brother, after they claimed the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “No Time To Die,” the theme for the 2021 James Bond flick of the same name.

“You were an emo, sad-looking teenager, and now you’re laughing and having a good time,” one reporter felt the need to say to Eilish, as relayed by Deadline. “Do you feel like you’ve had a change in your career as the last few years have gone along?”

“I mean, I went from 14 to 20, so that’ll do it,” Eilish responded. “I was also a very young teenager. You know teenagers; it’s just growth and aging. I’m super happy. I’m just coming into being aware of what is good and around me. When you’re that young, it’s hard to understand how of a big a deal things are around you and how important things are.”

Eilish was newly 18 when “No Time To Die” dropped in February 2020 as the theme song for Daniel Craig’s final bow as James Bond, which was originally set for an April 2020 theatrical release. Due to COVID-19, it actually didn’t make its way into the world until last October.

That just gave Billie and Finneas’ smash hit even more time to dig its claws into the charts and show the mainstream of the music industry something it’s not in any way accustomed to seeing from motion picture theme music.

Typing out in plain language that winning an Oscar for “No Time To Die” is a moment of culmination for Eilish feels counterintuitive for reasons twofold: (1) she has crammed multiple mini culminations into her career already, and (2) she’s still so unbelievably young that it is impossible to project what indelible, unprecedented marks she has yet to make on the music business (to say nothing of the film industry she’s already been formally awarded for impacting).

For now, though, let’s marinate in the history associated with “No Time To Die.”

The evocative piano ballad’s impressive run on the charts and across streaming services has only been overshadowed by its creator’s compulsion to push envelopes — cycling through green, blonde, and jet black internet-breaking hairstyles in the process — in the two years since its debut.

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Initial Industry Impact

  • Became Eilish’s first-ever No. 1 single in the UK on Feb. 21, 2020
  • Became just the second-ever James Bond theme to hit No. 1 in the UK
  • Recorded the “biggest-ever opening week” when it comes to James Bond theme songs with 90,000 combined first-week units and 10.6 million streams (h/t Billboard)
  • Racked up 70 million+ views since the video hit YouTube in October 2020

Halfway to EGOT Status

  • Earned Best Song Written for Visual Media at the 63rd Grammy Awards last March, bringing her total Grammy wins to 7 (or “007,” if you like)
  • Beat out Beyoncé, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Van Morrison, and Diane Warren to claim the Oscar for Best Original Song at Sunday’s Academy Awards, making her the second-youngest person ever to win that Oscar
  • Became the first person born in the 21st century to win an Oscar

Bond at the Box Office

  • Co-wrote and performed the title track for the finale of Daniel Craig’s five-film arc as 007 — both intimidating and monumental for Eilish and Finneas as lifelong Bond fans (“I just wanted him to love it,” she said.)
  • The 25th installment in the James Bond franchise, No Time to Die grossed over $613 million at the international box office and over $774 million worldwide (h/t IMDb Box Office Mojo)

“No Time To Die” is sandwiched between two chart-topping, genre-busting albums from Eilish.

March 2019 saw the unleashing of her debut studio album WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? — fully recorded in hers and Finneas’ childhood home in Highland, California. (That same intimate authenticity produced universal resonance with “No Time To Die,” which was written on a tour bus in Texas.)

And the project’s relevancy has endured:

Consider that the album has never left the upper half Billboard 200 for more than three entire years running.

More specifically, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP owned the top spot on the Billboard 200 for three weeks in the spring of 2019. It was headlined by the now-ubiquitous single “Bad Guy,” her first (and certainly not last) No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Eilish is currently on a world tour in support of Happier Than Ever, which dropped last July. Her sophomore album mirrored the first, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 — once again staying there for three weeks — with 238,000 equivalent first-week US album units, as reported by Billboard at the time.

Together, Eilish’s early discography landed her seventh on the top-10 global recording artists ranking for 2021 as revealed in last week’s IFPI Global Music Report.

Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell at the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar Party following the 94th Academy Awards (Lionel Hahn/Getty Images)

“No Time To Die” has lived up to its billing quite literally — from the charts and in the cultural canon, it appears to have no expiration date. The main takeaway from Billie Bossa Nova’s big night, though, is contextualizing her artistry as eternal beyond the song attached to her first Oscar statuette. Somehow, insane as it sounds, it feels like a footnote in the ever-evolving Eilish legend.

Next, she is up for seven Grammys — bringing her career nominations tally to 17 — at the 64th Grammy Awards on Sunday, April 3.

How could she feel anything but happier than ever?

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