Billie Eilish’s “bury a friend” Lyrics Meaning

“bury a friend” is the title of one of the many singles recorded by American singer-songwriter Billie Eilish. The song’s lyrics find Eilish asking someone or something a series of profound questions. It’s not made exactly clear who this person or entity is.

While it isn’t clear who or what some of these questions are posed to, it is 100% clear these are important questions to Eilish.

Lyrics of Bury a Friend by Billie Eilish

But is Billie Eilish singing about death?

Some have answered the above question in the affirmative. They feel when Eilish asks the question of where we go to when we fall asleep, she’s basically asking where go when we die. But what do we really think? Is Eilish really referencing the death and the afterlife in these lyrics? Well, it’s really not clear. However, there are two possible answers. Firstly, she could just be using the lyrics in their literal sense. If this is the case, she’s just asking where we go when we lay on our beds to sleep. Secondly, she could be using “sleep” in its figurative sense. This would mean “sleep” refers to death. And many feel Eilish might not be using “sleep” literally.

And do we agree with those that say Eilish is asking where we go when we die? The lyrics and theme of the song are dark and eerie enough to make us suspect death is what she’s referring to with the word “sleep”.

What Billie Eilish herself said about “bury a friend”

In 2019 interview with UMusic, Eilish said the song was written from the standpoint of the “monster under” her bed. Here are Eilish’s explanation of the meaning of “bury a friend”:

Billie Eilish explains the song "bury a friend"
This is the official music video for Eilish’s “bury a friend”. Barely 11 hours after this video was published on YouTube, it received over 11 million views. Such an incredible feat!

Another Explanation of the Lyrics of “bury a friend”

“Bury a Friend” is a track in which the subject of the song revolves back to Billie Eilish herself. In other words, the lyrics are sung from the perspective of another entity, specifically “the monster under” Billie’s bed. However, she goes on to state that this fearsome beast is indeed herself. In other words, she is singing to herself using the character of this monster as an external yet most-intimate voice.

The monster questions the nature of its relationship with Billie. For instance, it wonders why Billie isn’t afraid of it. In fact it goes on to state that Eilish actually cares for it. However, most of its thoughts seem to be based around negativity. It appears that this creature has put itself in an undesirable position that it cannot escape from. Indeed, its thoughts have become so disturbing that at times it considers self-harm.

The inclination for this monster to harm itself is found in the post-chorus, where the singer repeatedly utters, “I wanna end me.”  Since Eilish has stated that this fictional creature and she are actually one in the same, these lyrics apparently express a desire for Billie to terminate her own life. As such, the “friend” Eilish refers to in the title of the track, the close companion of the monster that it is addressing, is herself. In other words, Eilish sometimes has the desire to bury herself, as in commit suicide, with such a mindframe resulting in her being her “own worst enemy”.

Facts about “bury a friend”

  • Just like virtually all Eilish’s songs, Eilish co-wrote this single with songwriter and producer Finneas O’Connell. Eilish is related to O’Connell. Actually she’s his younger sister.
  • O’Connell, who is also a noted music producer, produced this song.
  • Eilish and her management released this single on January 30, 2019.
  • It is the third single from her album of the same name (When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?). The song “You Should See Me in a Crown” was the first single to be released from the aforementioned album. “When the Party’s Over” came out few weeks later as the album’s second single.
  • This was Eilish’s second song to be released in 2019. Her first for 2019 was a song titled “When I Was Older“.
  • The super creepy music video of “bury a friend” was directed by American film director and writer Michael Chaves.

Did Billie Eilish tease this song before its release?

Yes. On January 28, 2019, she uploaded a few seconds of a video clip of the track on her official Instagram page. A day after that, she announced the release date of the song as well as the title of her debut album.

Who sings the additional vocals on “bury a friend”?

Those creepy vocals you hear alongside Eilish’s are from a British rapper/singer named Crooks. Having said that, it’s noteworthy to point out that Crooks isn’t officially featured on the track.

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20 Responses

  1. methu says:

    Actually ur sngs ar bit different when looking at others sngs. Somehow keep up the work. I like to sing with u

    • Xavier sage says:

      She actually means she wants to erase all the parts of herself that she feels is causing other people or herself pain i have the same thoughts about myself when i do something to cause someone physical or emotional stress by just being myself without even intending to cause others harm and it eats at my soul like a demon would thus the demonic self she represents in the music video and she feels the only way to fix this is to end her own life i too have the same thoughts sometimes but i fix this by venting my feelings to a good friend of mine so billie eilish if your reading this talk to someone about it don’t end your life because not going to fix anything its just going to cause more pain

  2. Liih says:

    If we put together all the words that the man says, we can have: Billie, come here, listen

  3. Dave F. says:

    Crooks is NOT an American singer, but a British rapper.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This song has illuminati written all over it, i believe she is a witch and the song is about a friend that heard or seen something they werent supposed to and now she feels bad because they are gonna have to die.

    • Foxybrown1g says:

      According to Billie herself, it’s about the monster under her bed and that SHE is that monster.

      I’m not into the Illuminati stuff but I know a little. Exactly what makes you think it has “Illuminati written all over it”? And a witch? Really? I’m not even sure how to respond to that. The imagery to me seems more like she is a ghost or something (I’m so glad she clarified that for us lol).

  5. deep_dreamer says:

    When Billie says ,”When we all fall asleep, where do we go?” she is talking about dreaming. Another part of the song goes like ,”When my limbs are frozen and my eyes wont close,” she means sleep paralasis, which is something that Billie also struggles with. During her life she has dealt with a lot of nightmares and has had sleep paralasis five times. She also had a lot of reoccurring dreams. She is singing from the perspective of a monster under her bed. In times, she is her own monster.

  6. TooEasyNotToGet says:

    Heroin.

  7. Richard Sorensen says:

    I don’t think Billie is quite singing from the perspective of the “monster under her bed” as she put it. I’m pretty sure the song is written partially from the perspective of people who have tried to take advantage of her, or harboring some resentment for her, and also partially a confession from her perspective of withholding her own feelings from those people, and how the situation makes her want to end her life. “What do you want from me? Why don’t you run from me? What are you wondering? What do you know?” is a reference to the “monster” having something to hide, and they are paranoid that she might know already. “Why aren’t you scared of me? Why do you care for me?” is a reference to the “monster” further questioning Billie’s interest in them, because they know they don’t deserve the way she cares for them. “When we all fall asleep, where do we go?” refers to the “monster’s” inability to reflect, particularly during dreaming, while Billie suffers nightmares because of the ways she may have hurt people. The “monster” is referring to someone that Billie thought was her friend, but who turned out to be trying to take advantage of her success. There are a number of lines alluding to Billie having been aware that they likely have not been authentic with her, such as: “I’ll keep you in the dark, what had you expected? for me to make you my art and make you my star and get you connected? I’ll meet you in the park, I’ll be calm and collected, but we knew right from the start that you’d fall apart, cause I’m too expensive.” She is basically saying that they really should have known that they wouldn’t be able to keep up with her. Another example of this is the line, “Say it, spit it out. What is it exactly? Are you paying? Is the amount just cleaning you out, am I satisfactory?” She is saying that the “monster” is trying to appear as though they are worth Billie’s time, but have been misrepresenting themselves, and they are failing to prove it to her. She is sort of bragging that she is able to keep it 100%, and she can tell the “monster” is starting to fold under the pressure of maintaining the false impression they gave Billie about who they are and what their intentions are. And of course, the line, “Your talk will be something that shouldn’t be said out loud. Honestly I thought that I would be dead by now. Calling security, keeping my head held down. Bury the hatchet, or bury a friend right now.” This line speaks to Billies expectation that the “monster” will likely crack under the pressure, and may either end up lashing out verbally, or trying to hurt her in some way. She is saying that she has been aware that she was in some unspoken competition with the “monster” and then gives them an ultimatum that they can either put the conflict behind them, or put the friendship behind them, but knows that she will be hurt by the loss of a friend. Essentially, I think the message behind the song is that she wishes that people could be authentic, and end the conflict instead of getting angry and walking away. I think the song is relative to her sudden rise to fame, the friends that she has lost along the way, as well as the people she feels she has had to hurt to protect herself. The last line I want to talk about is, “for the debt I owe, gotta sell my soul, cause I can’t say no, no I can’t say no. Now my limbs all froze and my eyes won’t close, and I can’t say no, no I can’t say no.” Which is Billie saying that she has had to lose parts of herself and act in ways she didn’t think she was capable of, because while she is busy paying back the people who have helped her to succeed, she has no time for people who can’t pay her back for the things she does for them, and she feels an element of guilt about not having time for some people. Her limbs freezing and eyes not closing probably refers to sleep disturbance over that guilt. Billie, no offense, but get over yourself.

  8. Kevin Marx says:

    I think everyone is way off… Let’s get real here and use her recent vanity Fair interview as a reference. I think the song is mostly about what the music industry is doing to her. In the second verse that’s clearly the higher ups talking to her. Even in the video after that part the male voice says “careful” as in watch it now you’re saying too much. The whole step on glass, staple you’re tounge part is an analogy for her being told to do ridiculous things that really are hurting the person or artist she wants to be. Bury a friend to the youth these days means to bury them in ur mind or forget about them like she’s being told forget about ur friends. I think the bridge is the icing on the cake and proves my interpretation. How she’s in debt to her god cuz she sold her soul. And concludes it with her not having control of her arms or not being able to shut her eyes when she wants to. Since she’s signed her contract she “can’t say no” as she says herself. If you go back to her vanity Fair interview you clearly see the industry is doing a number on her and it’s not what she thought it would be like. In the question where she is asked is it all worth it, when she says yes you can tell it was sarcastic as hell and said only because she was forced to say it. I don’t know maybe it’s a conspiracy theory but it seems pretty clear here… She is being controlled by the industry (Illuminati if you will) and she wants to end it. She’s signed over her soul and can’t tell them no and it’s really effecting her.

    • Shawn says:

      I love your answer best …. it’s what I was thinkin as well . I also considered bury a friend meaning sacrifice someone u love cause they talk about that being part of the illuminati .

  9. Willow says:

    I honestly think she’s singing in reference to jaseh or xxxtentacion cause if you watch the music video in the beginning there’s a dude that looks like x in the bed

  10. Justme says:

    I think she sings from the viewpoint of her fame. At first she’s asking herself why she isn’t afraid of it and what she wants. The sentence “when we all fall asleep, where do we go?” could be about dreams that people have. Most people dream about being famous, she probably did so to before, but now she doesn’t know anymore if that’s truly still her dream.
    “Say it, spit it out. What is it exactly?” > she’s trying to figure it out.
    “You’re payin’? Is the amount cleanin’ you out? Am I satisfactory?” > The fame asks her: is the money worth it? is the fame satisfactory?
    “The way I’m drinkin’ you down, Like I wanna drown, like I wanna end me” > The fame is overwelming, it’s like it wants to kill her.
    ‘Step on the glass, staple your tongue (ah)” > could be about the sacrefices she has to make, and not being able to speak freely.
    “Bury a friend, try to wake up (ah-ah)” > Bury a friend could be about the things that where lost in the process of becoming famous. (like a real friend or what I think: herself as a person she recognised and liked) She can’t seem to wake up from it (this dream of hers) because she can’t take a break from being famous.
    “Cannibal class, killing the son (ah)” > Cannibal class sounds like it’s a tough world where people are very ambitious.

  11. Downs riele says:

    Yh i think u guyz r rite….mayb billie ad suffer many nightmares and mayb she did sumting bad 2 people dats y in the line(….why aren’t u scared of me,why do u care 4 me) i think what she tryin’ 2 say here is dat why r people nt scared of her when she has hurt so many people nd y did they still care 4 her when she didn’t care 4 others. Billie i’ll ask u nt 2 end urself becuz of what u’ve done and aw u r regreting 4 doin’ it.Killing wnt make any difference nd commiting sucidie isn’t d best solution,ok! Just go directly 2 God wit all ur problems nd u’ll c aw relieved u wud b.U r 2 young 2 end ur self nd u r just 17 if m right,so please dnt end urself i luv ur sngs alot nd i dnt want u 2 stop singing

  12. EyeNo says:

    Sounds like satanism to me. Do some research on adrenochrome and then reread the lyrics.

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