What does "all the good girls go to hell" by Billie Eilish mean?
“all the good girls go to hell” Music Video Meaning
(The following blog post is a transcript created by Xalma of the below video.)
Billie Eilish just released her new music video for "all the good girls go to hell"; and if that isn't a song title that perfectly describes Billie Eilish's brand, I don't know what is; we're going to talk about the lyrics; but first let's describe the music video, and try to figure out what's going on.
So basically; it starts with this snapshot of "Bury A Friend", where we see all of these hands poking needles into her back; and apparently whatever those were, they have caused her to grow wings at this point; and we see them start to rip through the flesh on her back; and it's kind of gross; then the next moment, we see her with these enormous wings, falling through the clouds to the earth, where she falls into a pit of tar; now obviously with that reference to "Bury A Friend", there is a possibility that there is going to be more videos in this series; it doesn't seem super tightly cohesive as a story; mostly because in "Bury A Friend", it sure had references to her being poked with needles, but that story didn't really go anywhere; and it was more about the visuals, the imagery, and the themes of particular scenes, rather than some overarching narrative, you know? There's not a huge narrative happening in this music video; we do see the needles from some organized force, people acting in connection with each other, multiple people create these wings; and in the next moment, she's falling out of the sky. Could she have escaped? Could she have been thrown out? Was she a failed experiment? Did things just kind of go weird? who knows what? but in any case, we cut to her falling to the earth; she falls into the tar pit; and it's kind of a deserty area; my guess is probably somewhere in California, you'll see why in a second; and she just starts walking around; and then pretty soon the tar catches on fire, which catches up to her wings and to her back; and even though she's not really seeming to sing so much; she's more just like walking and just looking kind of creepy with her black eyes, just like the ones we saw in the "Bury A Friend" music video; the fire burns all of the feathers off of her wings; and now she's left with what are basically just the skeleton outlines of wings, almost looking like huge bat wings; definitely looking more "devil" than "angel"; because the wings appeared to be angel wings more than anything as she was falling, they were white and fluffy; and now all the feathers are burned off, and we are left with who Billie Eilish is now; which I think is very telling of the theme; a lot of what we see from her is sort of like this "normalness" being stripped away from her; and in this case, it's being stripped away by fire, and it's taking the good, nice, fluffy thing that she had going on; more or less; revealing now that she's just like this tar covered, black eyed, bat winged person from the devil. I don't know exactly what it is, right?! I mean I know what the theme is; but she's basically like this new miserable creation. Beyond that, we mostly see the fire reaching and catching up all around her, and it just burns down this small town that she has fallen into. In the fire though, we see these silhouettes of like strippers dancing; and I think this is going to have a lot to do with the themes of the lyrics; and we'll get into that in a second; but.. I don't know.. I think that's probably partially a reference to strippers not being considered "good girls"; the strippers are probably representative of "bad girls, dancing in the flames"; because maybe we normally expect bad girls to go to hell, or something like that.
Again; I think the lyrics are going to reveal more here; so why don't we jump into those?
“all the good girls go to hell” Lyrics Meaning
My Lucifer is lonely
which based on some research, I think is probably a reference to the angel and the devil on your shoulders; which means that there's no angel for Billie; she's just being influenced by the dark side; and she's talked a lot in interviews about how she's going through some stuff, mentally and emotionally; she's talked about how fame is actually really oppressive and heavy for her; and so that devil is whispering in her ear; that's the depression, that's the dark thoughts, maybe that's where she gets the black eyes in the music video from, right?
I think that verse one is probably describing this "Lucifer", or this demon; because as you'll see, the song has a lot of imagery of basically the angels and the devils talking to each other; or the devil and God talking to each other, and kind of looking at humans and be like "what are they doing?!"
Standing there, killing time
Can't commit to anything but a crime
So that's obviously the devil.
Peter's on vacation, an open invitation
so he's like "great, I'll break into heaven"
Pearly Gates look more like a picket fence
so heaven's great, but apparently it's not big enough to keep the devil out.
Once you get inside 'em
Got friends but can't invite them
which is interesting; it seems to be kind of calling out people who would consider themselves in heaven, as they're thinking that they're better than other people. That line seems like it might be just a little bit of a shout out, but doesn't stick with the main theme of the song; and we get to the main theme of the song and the pre-chorus.
Hills burn in California
My turn to ignore ya
Don't say I didn't warn ya
this song, guys; it has been confirmed by Finneas, her brother and producer, in an interview with vulture.com; it's been confirmed that it's about global warming;
I read somewhere that some fans think that ‘All the Good Girls Go to Hell’ is about climate change. I love that they think that.” I was like, “That’s ‘cause it is.”
it's about how there's continuing wildfires in California; which is why I think that the town in the music video might be a Californian town; as we see this potential wildfire startup in the music video; and a lot of the song is about global warming; and the song is basically saying that the angels and the devils are kind of scratching their heads, and being like "why are they ruining the planet they live on? like what's even the point of us fighting over them when they're destroying it?"
Look at you needing me
You know I'm not your friend without some greenery
that could be the devil talking to the humans; or it could be the devil talking to God.
Walk in wearin' fetters
Peter should know better
Your cover up is caving in
Man is such a fool, why are we saving him?
Poisoning themselves now
Begging for our help, wow
Again, that's devils and the angels basically saying "what's going on?"; the whole "Peter should know better, your cover up is caving in" might be a reference to like God sending some people down to hell to say like "hey can you help us out? we don't know what's going on here"; which obviously is not theologically accurate by any religion that I can think of; but that's the imagery she's going for, right? and she's making a point with it.
Then we get to the chorus which has to be one of the most confusing things I've read in a while,
All the good girls go to hell
'Cause even God herself has enemies
And once the water starts to rise
And heaven's out of sight
She'll want the Devil on her team
this seems to be about God wanting to save humans, but not taking global warming seriously maybe; or the humans kind of turning on God, and being those people who're going to hell, or being those enemies; and so she's letting global warming happen; "and once the water start to rise" as the polar ice caps melt; "and then heaven's out of sight" because the water's too high, or because we're drowning in it; then God will want the devil on her team, to try to sort out this whole situation.
Really thematically honestly; it's difficult to comprehend how this whole scene fits into the message of the song; but it could be that they're saying "people who are watching out for global warming, or watching out for the planet.. they're going to drown too"; but it wraps up with the post-chorus,
My Lucifer is lonely
There's nothing left to save now
probably referring to the earth dying.
My god is gonna owe me
There's nothing left to save now
because apparently God let this happen on the earth.
A lot is going on; obviously there's that whole global warming topic and conversation; and then she pulls in the angels and the devil imagery; and then has a host of lines scattered throughout, that just basically sound like Billie Eilish catchphrases; she does a really good job at all three of those things; and the music video compliments it all very well thematically, and maybe even literally; if what they're referring to there is the beginning of a California wildfire; and perhaps this one in particular got started by a angel being thrown out of heaven; which is also a hugely biblical reference there, Lucifer, the devil, he was thrown out of heaven for rebelling against God, according to Christian theology; and so him falling to earth, and now all of a sudden.. global warming, fires, and carnage.
So, there's a lot going on here; there's many layers, and it's easy to see why Billie Eilish's audience is getting more and more of a reputation for really thinking what she has to say; because she HAS a lot to say; there's a lot to dig into; and she's just got layers and layers and layers to what's happening here.
In any case, this has been my explanation to this song, "all the good girls go to hell"; if you haven't seen the music video or haven't heard the song yet, you can do so by clicking on the link down below.