Why Fans Think Billie Eilish’s ‘Hit Me Hard and Soft’ Could Be a Double Album

feature image by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for ABA

I’ve been busy blasting Billie Eilish‘s superb new album Hit Me Hard and Soft, and one recurring thought I keep having is that it’s quite short. Well, fans have a theory about that. There’s much speculation on TikTok that Billie Eilish could have actually cooked this up as a double album and we only have the first part. COULD IT BE? Let’s dig into the speculation, which hinges on something called the “ilomilo theory.”

What is the Billie Eilish Ilomilo theory?

When Billie Eilish appeared on the celebrity interview series Hot Ones, she talked about loving to play ilomilo, the puzzle video game that features two characters: one red and one blue. She has a song on her debut studio album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? called “Ilomilo.” Fans have latched onto the short length of Hit Me Hard and Soft as well as its blue motif to spin a theory that this could be Eilish’s ilomilo album, with a second part with a red motif coming next. There’s even a song on Hit Me Hard and Soft called “BLUE,” and some of the merch Eilish launched features the color red seeping into the more dominant blues.

There are ten songs on Hit Me Hard and Soft, and “ilomilo” is the 11th track on When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Could a riff or expansion on the original “ilomilo” track provide a bridge between two albums? Fans on TikTok definitely seem to think so:

@phzlpss

#greenscreen i could go on and on abt billie and how genius she is #hitmehardandsoft

♬ original sound – ellie phelps

And simply searching “ilomilo theory” already brings up tons of fanvids and conspiracy theories.

Further Evidence Billie Eilish Could Be Plotting a Double Album

As the above TikTok also points out, upon Hit Me Hard and Soft‘s release, Eilish also posted on Instagram a page from a notebook with HIT ME HARD AND SOFT handwritten twice in it in slightly different scripts. Is it referring to just the hard and soft dual nature of the album’s title, or could it be alluding to a double album?

The biggest hint of all seems to be what Eilish says at the end of the final song on Hit Me Hard and Soft: “but when can I hear the next one?” The next what, Billie! THE NEXT WHAT?

Of course, fans of Eilish know she tends to build a lot of self-referential material into her work. The ten songs on Hit Me Hard and Soft are all in direct conversation with one another, the final two tracks on the album pulling lyrics from the songs that come before it. Even at just ten songs, the album feels like it’s playing with duality.

As much as I’d love a double album, I’d be more into the idea of Eilish intentionally playing on fans’ expectations and conspiracies. Easter eggs and secret clues can be fun to unspool and are increasingly popular in pop music, but they can feel less artistic and more consumerist. Hit Me Hard and Soft is already an album steeped in contrasts and duality, so a double album isn’t needed to drive that home. Also, in some ways I prefer a shorter pop album to an overlong or doubled one. It usually results in a no skips situation, and Hit Me Hard and Soft is definitely a no skips album for me. In fact, I’ve put each track on 🔂 at some point already. The Billie Eilish ilomilo theory makes for fun TikTok fodder, but I’m skeptical of secret message gimmicks. I’m much more interested in the kind of self-referential work Hit Me Hard and Soft is already doing.

Though, again, I would not mind a part two! I’ll lap up whatever Billie’s cooking!

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 861 articles for us.

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