Meaning of “​bury a friend” by Billie Eilish

Written By Michael Miller

Michael is a music teacher and professional cellist. He loves uncovering the deeper meaning of popular songs.

In “bury a friend,” Billie Eilish delves deep into the haunting themes of self-reflection, inner demons, and the macabre curiosity about death and what lies beyond. At the song’s core, Eilish embodies a monster under the bed, exploring the fear and complexity of her own psyche, while also touching on broader existential questions. The song is a conversation with this monster, reflecting on the allure and repulsion of the darker aspects of human nature. Eilish invites listeners to confront their fears, questioning why we are drawn to what scares us and what that says about our inner selves. This song isn’t just a reflection of Eilish’s personal battles; it’s an invitation to peer into the abyss of our collective anxieties.

Curious about the depths of “bury a friend”? Dive deeper into Billie Eilish’s mind with us as we unravel the layers of this haunting masterpiece.

“bury a friend” Lyrics Meaning

From the very first lines, “What do you want from me? Why don’t you run from me? What are you wondering? What do you know?”, Billie Eilish sets the stage for a confrontation with the self. The repetition of questions not only evokes a sense of introspection but also challenges the listener to face their own fears and desires. This introduction serves as a gateway into the song’s deeper themes, blurring the lines between the singer and the monster within.

As the song progresses, the imagery becomes increasingly vivid and disturbing. “Step on the glass, staple your tongue” conjures a visceral response, symbolizing the painful lengths to which one might go to silence their inner demons or to prevent themselves from speaking their truths. The act of burying a friend, repeated throughout the chorus, can be interpreted as an allegory for self-destruction or burying parts of oneself that are difficult to confront.

The line “Today, I’m thinkin’ about the things that are deadly” further expands on this theme, suggesting a contemplation of mortality and the darker aspects of the human condition. Eilish’s reference to “drinkin’ you down like I wanna drown” is a metaphor for self-destructive behaviors and the struggle to escape one’s own thoughts and feelings.

The notion of wanting to “end me” recurs, echoing the song’s exploration of self-identity and the desire to escape from oneself. This stark admission of vulnerability and existential dread resonates with the listener, creating a powerful connection through shared human fears.

As the song unfolds, it delves into themes of exploitation and the cost of fame. “Keep you in the dark, what had you expected? Me to make you my art and make you a star and get you connected?” reflects the manipulative aspects of the music industry and the pressures faced by artists. Eilish’s questioning of whether it’s worth the “debt I owe” to “sell my soul” speaks to the internal conflict between maintaining one’s integrity and succumbing to external demands.

The lyric “Then my limbs all froze and my eyes won’t close” portrays a state of paralysis and insomnia, emblematic of anxiety and the inability to escape one’s thoughts. This line, coupled with the repeated declarations of wanting to “end me,” underscores the depth of Eilish’s introspection and the intensity of her internal struggle.

Throughout “bury a friend,” Billie Eilish navigates the complexities of self-identity, fear, and the human condition with raw honesty and compelling imagery. The song stands as a testament to her songwriting prowess, inviting listeners into a world of introspection and existential inquiry.

Why Was “bury a friend” Written?

“bury a friend” was born from Billie Eilish’s introspective journey and her desire to explore the darker corners of her mind. At a young age, Eilish has confronted themes that many grapple with throughout their lives—identity, mental health, and the search for meaning. The song reflects a period of deep self-reflection and a willingness to confront uncomfortable truths about herself and the world around her.