Here’s something weird! Billie Eilish is a 17-year-old pop singer with weirdo aspirations and with a massive online fanbase. Roma, then again, is a moderate, lyrical, beautiful Mexican workmanship film about the life of a domestic laborer who lives with a relatively well off family in Mexico City in 1970 and 1971. It’s a movie with no obviously delineated plot, based around tiny minutes that spread out the sharp boundaries between economic classes. Roma is not a movie aimed at Eilish’s demographic, but rather here’s Eilish with a Roma melody at any rate.
“When I Was Older,” Eilish’s new tune, does not originate from the Roma soundtrack. That would be ridiculous. It’s not so kind of movie. In any case, Eilish has pointed out that the tune was inspired by Roma. Indeed, the official title of the melody is “When I Was Older (Music Inspired By The Film Roma).” And it’s presumably not a coincidence that the tune is coming out now, as Netflix, which discharged Roma, is trying to motivate more individuals to watch the movie, especially during its big Oscar campaign.
It’s difficult to perceive how “When I Was Older” has anything at all to do with Roma, however its subjects of alienation might have some reverberation. (Likewise, Eilish sings about being a sailor on the vast ocean, and there is one critical Roma scene that happens on a shoreline. So there’s that.) But it’s a weirdly pretty melody, an Auto-Tuned psalm that leaves a lot of negative space. It’s a sign that older people like us might need to begin paying attention to Eilish. (To begin you off, here’s our own Chris DeVille’s Week In Pop section on her from a year ago.) Listen to the tune beneath.
“When I Was Older” is out now at the streaming services.