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Some on social media are called the anti-smoking video “triggering” and “disturbing.”
Eilish, in her directorial debut, sits stoically on a cream-colored bench in a cream sweater, singing and barely flinching as cigarettes are continually snuffed out on her.
“I just wanted it to sound the way that it feels to just breathe in recycled breath,” she told MTV News. “Recycled, poisonous breath, I may add. I just wanted it to feel miserable.”
Eilish is no stranger to intense – and often real – imagery in her videos. In “[you should see me in a] crown” she had real tarantulas crawl out of her mouth and she actually cries black tears in “When The Party’s Over.”
“Everything is really important that it’s all real to me,” she told NPR earlier this year, adding that she hates when everything is CGI.
She also likes to make the viewer uncomfortable.
“I just love the idea of glorifying people’s biggest fears,” she told NPR. “You know, people are freaked out by needles, people are freaked out by things under the bed.”
“I just love the idea of glorifying people’s biggest fears. You know, people are freaked out by needles, people are freaked out by things under the bed.”
— Billie Eilish
But some on social were concerned that the video could be too “dark” for the singer’s younger fans — and possibly encourage them to mimic the singer.
“How are we meant to prevent kids seeing it?” one Twitter user wrote. … I’m starting to think someone needs to explain to her that people are influenced by famous people.”
“May be a little triggering for self harm (cigarette burns).” another wrote. “Beware guys.”
Eilish said the night before she wrote “Xanny” she was with a group of friends who were all binge-drinking and sick around her.
“It was so weird, I was just like, ‘What? This is normal?’” she said. “’That’s normal for you guys.’ Watching my friends become completely not who they were. Watching their personalities crumple and fall.”
She also stirred a bit of controversy over her personal life when she said in a Vanity Fair interview last month that she regularly texts 33-year-old rapper Drake.
The singer revealed last year that she has suffered from Tourette’s syndrome her “whole life” in an Instagram post after fans noticed her facial ticks during an interview.
“My tics are only physical and not super noticeable to others if you’re not really paying attention,” she wrote in the post. “These compilations ya’ll been making of my tics are lowkey funny even when ya’ll make fun of them n s—. I know you’re all confused so as to what it is, so just to let ya know..it’s Tourettes.”
She told Ellen DeGeneres this year that she never said anything publicly before because she didn’t want it to define her.