WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

Album Review

It might be strange to cover an album that came out two years ago. But hold on for a minute, and you’ll understand.

Becoming wildly famous after releasing a song on SoundCloud might be the dream of many starry-eyed teens. But that wasn't what Los Angeles native Billie Eilish anticipated. At the age of 14, she uploaded her song “Ocean Eyes” onto that platform as a homework assignment and didn’t think much of it. Until, that is, it blew up and garnered milllions of streams. Not long after, the teen began to be hounded for more.

More music. More art. More Billie.

One year later, Billie released her EP, dont smile at me. A fusion of multiple genres, sounds and styles, these nine tracks capture the young singer's undeniably engaging perspective and personality. We hear the honest confessions of a teenager who has known heartbreak, self-loathing and love. Don't smile at me is dreamy and depressing, enchanting and hauting. And it warrants both praise and caution.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Billie attempts to guard her heart after relationships go awry in songs such as “Party Favor,” “&burn” and “Watch.” In the former, she breaks up with her demanding boyfriend on his birthday (“Stay and blah blah blah/You just want what you can’t have/No way, I’ll call the cops/If you don’t stop, I’ll call your dad”). In the latter song, she tells a certain someone that he’ll never get close to her heart again (“Go ahead and watch my heart burn/ … But I’ll never let you back to put it out”).

“Ocean Eyes” tells the honest story of a girl who’s been left lonely after love's left her: “No fair/You really know how to make me cry/When you give me those ocean eyes.”

Similarly, Billie is honest and open about her own insecurities on “Idontwannabeyouanymore” (“Hands getting cold/Losing feeling is getting old/Was I made from a broken mold?”). That said …

Objectionable Content

… those same insecurities carry with them an air of depression and sadness as Billie confesses, "Fall apart twice a day."

Many of her insecurities seemingly stem from broken relationships, which is a prevalent theme here. “Watch,” “&burn,” “Party Favor” and “My Boy” describe guys who have led Billie on and broken her heart. The former tells of a man who misled her (“I’ll sit and watch your car burn/With the fire that you started in me/But you never came back to ask it out”) and the latter is all about a fickle (and perhaps unfaithful) boyfriend (“My boy … /Don’t love me like he promised/ … He ain’t a man, and sure as h--- ain’t honest”).

“Bellyache” sarcastically narrates a grim story told through the eyes of a serial killer: “My friends aren’t far/In the back of my car/Lay their bodies/ … Where’s my mind/Maybe in the gutter/Where I left my lover.”

Billie’s not a fan of those who copy her, either. In “Copycat,” she warns those who are interested in stealing her style, “Copycat trying to cop my manner/Watch your back when you can’t watch mine/Copycat trying to cop my glamour/Why so sad bunny? Can’t have mine?”

“Hostage” is a brooding, sensual song about possessive love: “Yeah, you feel right so stay a sec/And let me crawl inside your veins/I’ll build a wall, give you a ball and chain/ … You’re all I wanted/Just let me hold you like a hostage.”

A violent reference pops up in “My Boy” (“Alright dude, go trip over a knife”). Profanities include “h---,” “s---” and “b---s---,” each of which are heard once or twice.

Summary Advisory

Like I said before, this EP needs to be handled carefully, as it warrants both praise and caution.

It’s not hard to see (or hear) that this teen from Los Angeles is talented. And that’s probably an understatement. Kids around the world are being drawn to Eilish for her relatable style and down-to-earth feel. Foo Fighters frontman (and former Nirvana drummer) Dave Grohl recently told USA Today, "My daughters are obsessed with Billie Eilish. The same thing is happening with her that happened with Nirvana in 1991. Her music is hard to define, I don't know what you call it. ... But it's authentic and I would call that rock 'n' roll."

But while her brutal honesty is relatable, it’s also something that parents need to watch closely. In an interview with Genius on YouTube, Eilish said (when discussing the meaning of one of her songs), “I really, really, really, really hate myself. You know, you can feel so unbelievably lost and horrible and like you’re nothing and you’re invisible and for no reason at all, which is almost worse than having a reason. It’s the way that my brain works.”

Then she says, "And it's like, you know, 'Billie what's wrong?' 'I don't f---ing know.' Like me, that's what. And it's like, 'Who hurt you?' And I'm like [points to herself dramatically]."

Eilish obviously isn’t alone in those feelings of self-loathing. Many of us have felt them at some point, perhaps especially during adolescence. But to always hate yourself and to always be depressed … that’s alarming stuff.

Jesus taught us to love one another as we love ourselves as a concrete expression of our love for God (Matthew 22:36-40). But it's hard to love others well if we don’t receive the love God has for us. It takes work. It takes patience and maturity and age. And, most of all, it takes time as we gradually learn to see ourselves the way that God sees us.

But young fans, many of whom are wrestling with severe mental health issues themselves these days, may not have that kind of time. So while some of Billie Eilish's songs might potentially encourage honesty and beauty, other tracks might lead down dark, discouraging paths.

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Peaked at No. 14.

Record Label

Darkroom, Interscope Records

Platform

Publisher

Released

August 11, 2017

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Kristin Smith

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!