Billie Bossa Nova

Album: Happier Than Ever (2021)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • The bossa nova is a jazz-tinged Brazilian music style that evolved from samba in the mid-20th Century. Characterized by a smooth feel, it is more complex harmonically than samba and less percussive. In Portuguese, "bossa nova" literally translates as "new trend" or "new wave."

    Penned by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes and first recorded by Joao Gilberto in 1957, "Chega de Saudade" is widely regarded as the first recorded bossa nova song. Six years later, Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto's "The Girl From Ipanema" became the first bossa nova single to achieve international popularity.

    Here, over a bossa nova beat created by her brother Finneas, Billie Eilish sings of sneaky romantic rendezvous in hotel rooms.
  • Eilish uses the bossa nova sound to evoke a seduction behind closed doors as she uses fake aliases and locked phones to keep her romantic hookup from the press. Finneas told Rolling Stone the lyrics come from the strange life of a touring pop star. "We have to do a lot of goofy bulls--t when we go on tour, where we enter through freight elevators in hotels and stuff, so that paparazzi doesn't follow us to our room," he explained. "And so we acted as if there was also a secret love affair going on in there of Billie being like, 'Nobody saw me in the lobby. Nobody saw me in your arms,' as if there was a mystery person in her life during all of that."
  • In a Spotify commentary, Eilish said the song originated with a beat Finneas sent her in spring 2019. "He called it 'Billie Bossa Nova' 'cause it was just a bossa nova-type beat and I was like 'that's amazing' and then nothing happened for a year and a half," she said. "Then we listened to it again and kinda wrote this fantasy, romanticized, glorified, dream."

Comments: 1

  • Piper from Portland Orlove the personal feelings associated with billie bossa nova, her whispering eye sings in public and shouts lyrics to the world about strength, vinegar, muscle control; the drummer is playing in 7/8 time which itself is a miracle in todays influence, yet BE sings the words we pronounce on a daily basis and on pitch. Amazing, beautiful,
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Billy Joe Shaver

Billy Joe ShaverSongwriter Interviews

The outlaw country icon talks about the spiritual element of his songwriting and his Bob Dylan mention.

Yacht Rock Quiz

Yacht Rock QuizFact or Fiction

Christopher Cross with Deep Purple? Kenny Loggins in Caddyshack? A Fact or Fiction all about yacht rock and those who made it.

Soul Train Stories with Stephen McMillian

Soul Train Stories with Stephen McMillianSong Writing

A Soul Train dancer takes us through a day on the show, and explains what you had to do to get camera time.

dUg Pinnick of King's X

dUg Pinnick of King's XSongwriter Interviews

dUg dIgs into his King's X metal classics and his many side projects, including the one with Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam.

Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt On How To Create A Music Scene

Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt On How To Create A Music SceneSong Writing

With $50 and a glue stick, Bruce Pavitt created Sub Pop, a fanzine-turned-label that gave the world Nirvana and grunge. He explains how motivated individuals can shift culture.

Corey Hart

Corey HartSongwriter Interviews

The Canadian superstar talks about his sudden rise to fame, and tells the stories behind his hits "Sunglasses At Night," "Boy In The Box" and "Never Surrender."