Billie Eilish, at just 19 years old, is already one of the biggest pop stars in the world. She’s just released her second album Happier Than Ever, and with new albums come new singles. One of them, “NDA,” sees Eilish targeting the tabloids that Gossip Cop knows all too well.
Eilish released “NDA” on July 9th, where it reached number 39 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by Eilish and her brother Finneas. The song is all about what it’s like when you can’t disappear, and trying to date when prying eyes are always watching.
Look At The Lyrics
The song is essentially about Elish reckoning with what her life is like now that she’s incredibly famous. She sings, “Got a stalker walking up and down the street/Says he’s Satan and he’d like to meet.” Paparazzi have stalked everyone from Michael Cera to Britney Spears. Eilish also has a five-year restraining against a stalker, so she’s using reality to explore her claustrophobia.
Eilish then talks about why you don’t hear tell-alls from her exes: “Didn’t change my number, made him shut his mouth//At least I gave him something he can cry about.” This matches cleanly with the title of the song, “NDA.’ Non-disclosure agreements prevent people from legally discussing anything from business to relationships. They’re a tabloid trope unto themselves.
Eilish could be discussing a former beau, but it sounds like she may be discussing the tabloid press. She sings, “You couldn’t save me but you can’t let me go//I can crave you, but you don’t need to know.” She creates the stars and fame, but won’t allow either herself or others to talk to the press. Eilish acknowledges the hypocrisy of celebrity media: needing coverage at the cost of privacy.
Popular gossip source deuxmoi thrives on discussing NDA’s. Folks who hook up with celebrities sometimes have to sign these agreements to preclude them from talking to the press about the relationship or even just a hook-up. Deuxmoi and its corresponding online community have often talked about these NDAs, which stars ask for them and which don’t. Eilish seems to address this point directly, though it could be interpreted as satire, “Had a pretty boy over but he couldn’t stay/On his way out, made him sign an NDA/Yeah, I made him sign an NDA/(Once was good enough)/’Cause I don’t want him having shit to say”
Gossip Cop has seen Eilish raked over bogus stories, and she’s opened up about how “nothing ever goes away once it’s on the internet.” She knows as few do what it’s like to live a life under constant scrutiny. Eilish has had to face down body shaming, and it’s clearly mentally exhausting.
NDA’s field the tabloid press because they leave room for ambiguity and doubt. People can’t necessarily clear the air on an affair because they legally aren’t allowed to speak. Eilish both relishes in this and reckons with it on “NDA.” Eilish is uniquely qualified to discuss what life under tabloid scrutiny is like, and it’s fascinating to watch her and her brother turn their reality into art.