“All Eyes on Me” by Bo Burnham
Up until this point we’ve covered a couple of Bo Burnham songs, with the vocalist concurrently being an up-and-coming musician, albeit a comedic one, in the game. And this particular piece (“All Eyes on Me”), especially up until the midway point, is the least-comical Burnham song we’ve come across thus far. That is to say that it reads a lot like a party tune with the vocalist, as the title suggests, drawing attention to himself. And the reason he is doing so is for the purpose of riling the crowd up, serving as a hype man, if you will.
But this being Bo Burnham, he uses the actual verses (and interlude) to delve into more serious subject matter. The first two verses, as well as the interlude, deal with what we’ve come to recognize as one of his recurrent subject matters, which is mental health, self-esteem, overthinking or however you want to put it when you combine all of such concepts. For instance, in said verses he is encouraging timid onlookers to get into the party mood instead of being “nervous”, “scared”, “shy” or ‘overthinking’ the situation. He assures the unassertive addressees that if they let loose, nothing adverse is going to happen to them.
The interlude however is based on his own personal mental state – or at least how it was “five years ago”. This was around the time when he nearly “quit performing live comedy” due to being the victim of “severe panic attacks”. In fact he did put down the mic for a good half a decade, which likely explains why there is such a large time gap in his discography.
But eventually, at the onset of the 2020s, Burnham’s mental health improved. And that’s when he realized it was time to ‘reenter the world’ as opposed to “hiding from” it. So the implication would be that in terms of encouraging diffident listeners to have fun, the vocalist is qualified to do so. This is because he himself was once in their shoes but has now come to see the light that life is meant to be lived enjoyably.
And the third verse is also related to that concept, in a way. Here, Bo is putting forth his reluctance to get bent out of shape as a result of the harrowing bad news we deal with on a daily basis. It isn’t so much that he is ignoring the pressing issues of the day as it is the vocalist coming to the realization that in the grand scheme of things, there’s only so much he can do anyway. Or as Burnham poetically puts it, ‘the world has already ended’.
The pre-chorus is also pretty interesting, where Bo speaks of himself and the audience going to place “where everybody knows”, though said location is left unspecified. It may be that he’s interpolating, in a manner of speaking, the Cheers theme song, i.e. “where everybody knows your name”. In other words, what it all points back to is this admonishment for the listeners to feel free and relax.
What “All Eyes on Me” is all about
The above is also, we will conclude, the thesis sentiment of the song itself. And the reason Burnham is compelled to go out of his way to espouse such a disposition is obviously because he is able to perceive that there are ample factors floating about which may conversely be depressing us or causing individuals to sink into a shell.
Bo Burnham is a comedian and musician who was born and raised in Massachusetts. Those who are familiar with comedy circuit have undoubtedly heard of him throughout the years, as he’s been affiliated with Comedy Central since the late aughts. In fact it is their label, Comedy Central Records, that put out his first four albums (one EP and three live albums) between 2008 and 2013.
All three of the live projects scored a number one on Billboard’s Top Comedy Albums listing. Also the first two live projects, Bo Burnham (2009) and Words Words Words (2010), appeared on the Billboard 200, with the latter even breaking the top 40.
Inside (The Songs)
But that said, even though it took Burnham almost seven years between the release of his third live album, What (2013) and this one, which is entitled Inside (The Songs), Inside may prove to be the most-successful yet. Having just come out on 10 June 2021, seemingly as a self-released project, as of the writing of this post the latter does not have a chart history to report of. But we are making that above presumption based on the fact that up until now, it has been generating a lot of buzz.
In fact the reason the undertaking is referred to as Inside (The Songs) is because said songs are derived from a 2021 Netflix special entitled Bo Burnham: Inside which first aired on late in May, 2021. And the special itself has been so well-received that some are anticipating it may even go on to win an Emmy Award.
“All Eyes on Me” is the 18th song on the project’s 20-track playlist. And the official release date of the tune was on the same aforementioned date as the album. Moreover, it was written and produced by Bo Burnham.