Meaning of “8” by Billie Eilish

Before being featured as the eighth track on Billie Eilish’s 2019 album titled When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go, this track was actually entitled “See Through”, which gives a better understanding of its contents. To put differently, this song is about a love interest of Billie’s who is generally uninterested in her and as such ‘looks at her like she’s see-through’.

Obviously what is transpiring throughout the song is Billie trying to make peace with the fact that she fell in love with a guy who no longer wants her.  For instance, at the beginning she is trying to engage him in a heartfelt conversation. However, even during this interaction, Billie must fight to retain his attention. And she comes to the realization that she gave her heart to someone who did not reciprocate the love.

Thus in the chorus, Billie concludes that she is better off just walking away from the relationship. On top of not knowing how to definitively please this guy, he looks at her as if she is invisible. Moreover she cannot read his emotions and wonders if he actually feels anything for her at all.

The second verse sort of flips the story a little in that now it seems like the guy rather is initiating the breakup. This is despite the fact that Billie has committed herself to being sensitive to his feelings. In other words, she feels that she put her best into the relationship. But at the end of the day, the guy seems to have no problems whatsoever telling her goodbye.

Accordingly “8” ends with the chorus and Billie once again concluding that a breakup is for the best and questioning her ex’s feelings in general.

Lyrics of "8"

What Billie Eilish said about the song “8”

In a 2019 interview with Zane Lowe in Paris, France for Apple Music’s Beats 1 show, Eilish shed light on the lyrics of “8”. According to her, she wrote the song from the perspective of someone close to her whom she hurt. Owing to this, every lyric in the song is directed at her. So throughout the song, she puts herself in the position of the person she hurt.

Billie Eilish talks about the meaning of "8"

Based on the above, we can safely conclude that the song is about a former boyfriend of Eilish’s whom she broke up with despite the fact that he loved and treated her well. Writing this song was the only way Eilish could deal with the pain she caused her former boyfriend. So in one way or another, the song sees Eilish empathizing and trying to deal with what she had done.

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7 Responses

  1. actually Billie stated in an interview with Beats 1 Apple Music at a Paris Meet Up, that this song was written from the perspective of someone she hurt. The video is almost an hour long, so I don’t really expect anyone to watch the whole thing, but it’s from the full interview between 25:00 and 26:15. Her interviewer says “There are some real [expletive] you guys are writing about in these songs” to which Finneas responds “some of them are us too”. Billie says “A lot of them are us…The song 8 off of the album, which is a very sort of almost like sound cloud loop type song. Um, that song I wrote from the perspective of somebody that I hurt. So that’s not even-like I feel like when people her that song they’re like ‘oh poor baby Billie, aw she’s so hurt’ and it really was just I was a [expletive] for a minute. I really was and the only was I could deal with it was to just stop for a second and put myself in that person’s you know, place” She says “every lyric in that song is towards me”

  2. Explosions says:

    Idk why, but I can’t help but picture a small child tugging at the trouser leg of a parent in the first few lines

  3. Jack says:

    In “wish you were gay”, number 8 is missing..

  4. The Truth says:

    Not exactly: I ate (8) alone at 7, you were 6 minutes away. Could interpret it either way. Very clever lyrics, either way. 🙂

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