Ocean Eyes- Fearful Experience of 1 innocent Girl

Ocean Eyes is a song by American singer Billie Eilish. Originally published on SoundCloud on November 19, 2015, it was released as a single to all streaming services on November 18, 2016, through Darkroom and Interscope Records. The song was written and produced by Eilish’s older brother, Finneas O’Connell, and was originally written by Finneas for his band.

The song was recorded for Fred Diaz, Billie Eilish’s dance teacher at Revolution Dance Center (Honolulu Avenue, Los Angeles), to choreograph to.

Ocean Eyes- Fearful Experience of 1 innocent Girl
Ocean Eyes- Fearful Experience of 1 innocent Girl

When asked about how the song came about in an early 2017 interview with Teen Vogue‘s Ariana Marsh, Eilish said:

Aside from singing, I’m also a dancer. I’ve been dancing since I was eight. Last year, one of my teachers asked if I would either write a song or have my brother write a song to choreograph a dance to. I was like, ‘yes, that’s such a cool thing to do!’ Then, my brother came to me with “Ocean Eyes”, which he had originally written for his band. He told me he thought it would sound really good in my voice. He taught me the song and we sang it together along to his guitar and I loved it—it was stuck in my head for weeks.

We kind of just decided that that was the song we were going to use for the dance. We put it on SoundCloud with a free download link next to it so my dance teacher could access it. We had no intentions for it, really. But basically overnight a ton of people started hearing it and sharing it.

Hillydilly, a music discovery website, found it and posted it and it just got bigger and bigger. It was really sexy. Then, Danny Rukasin, who is now my manager, reached out to my brother and was like, ‘dude, this is going to get huge and I think you’re going to need help along the way. I want to help you guys.’ We were like, ‘that’s swag!’

The origin of the song is somewhat different in another interview given by Billie Eilish on Interview Magazine where she says: “OCEAN EYES”: It was weird, because we didn’t plan for it to do anything really. The reason we put it out when we did was that the whole song was meant to be for my dance teacher, because he wanted to use it for a dance. That’s why the production is dance-esque, contemporary, and lyrical. And then it was done, and we were going to wait till Friday to put it out, and thought, “Screw it. Let’s just put it out now.”

And here’s a quote from an August 2016 interview with Vogue:

Before we put out “Ocean Eyes,” we’d put out two songs—one that Finneas wrote and one that I wrote. Just to put them out on SoundCloud for fun and for our friends to listen to. We had no intention for them. And then we put out “Ocean Eyes.” It kind of just started getting traction. I would hit refresh and it would have a bunch of new plays. We were like, “What the hell is going on?”

Lyrics

I’ve been watchin’ you for some time

Can’t stop starin’ at those ocean eyes

Burning cities and napalm skies

Fifteen flares inside those ocean eyes

Your ocean eyes

 

No fair

You really know how to make me cry

When you gimme those ocean eyes

I’m scared

I’ve never fallen from quite this high

Fallin’ into your ocean eyes

Those ocean eyes

 

I’ve been walkin’ through a world gone blind

Can’t stop thinkin’ of your diamond mind

Careful creature made friends with time

He left her lonely with a diamond mind

And those ocean eyes

 

(repeat this again)

 

Da, da-da, da-da

Da-da-da, da, da

Da, da, da, da, da-da-da-da

Mm

Mm

Mm

 

No fair

You really know how to make me cry

When you gimme those ocean eyes

I’m scared

I’ve never fallen from quite this high

Fallin’ into your ocean eyes

Those ocean eyes

Critical reception

Chris DeVille of Stereogum said “the song is pure pop, a ballad about longing for reconciliation with an ex. I can imagine it becoming a major hit, and director Megan Thompson’s video will certainly help.” Idolator’s Mike Wass labeled it a “dreamy ballad”. Rebecca Haithcoat of SSENSE called it a “gauzy dream-pop song”.  Mathias Rosenzweig of Vogue stated “On Billie Eilish’s breakthrough track, she compares love to falling off a cliff, surrounded by the warlike intensity of napalm skies.

It’s a profound description for a 14-year-old, and it’s led to an enormous amount of interest in her debut song—as well as the singer herself. Like the title suggests, her airy soprano vocals also conjure up thoughts of the ocean washing over the song’s mellow percussion and minimalist synths.

The song’s maturity paired with a few childish ideals—she sings, for example, that love is ‘no fair’—struck a chord with an audience much older than Eilish and has racked up a total of more than 556,000,000 streams on Spotify. The Astronomyy Remix of the track is used as the Single Mix in US radio stations. Billboards Jason Lipshutz called it “understated and heartbreaking”. The song has been called “a moody bit of synth-pop”.

Music video

A music video for the song, directed by Megan Thompson, was released on March 24, 2016. A dance performance music video was released on November 22, 2016.

Ocean Eyes-Credits and personnel

 

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Don’t Smile at Me.

  • Billie Eilish – vocals
  • Finneas O’Connell – producer, songwriter, mixer
  • John Greenham – mastering engineer

 

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