The Billie Eilish music pack is now available for Beat Saber. But will it leave you feeling Happier Than Ever, or more like a bad guy? Here are our impressions.
Billie Eilish is one of the biggest pop artists in the world right now, coming off a highly successful debut album, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go, in 2019 and gearing up for a world tour to support her sophomore album Happier Than Ever, which released in August. In this Beat Saber collaboration, there’s 10 songs that span both albums (and one from her debut EP, Don’t Smile At Me) as well as an elegantly gothic new environment to match. As we’ve spoken about before, this music pack likely marks a strategic push by Facebook to entice a younger, less niche audience towards VR, using one of the biggest artists of the moment.
Considering that, there’s a lot of pressure for the pack to hold up to several audiences — Billie Eilish fans, Beat Saber fans, or those in between who are completely new to either or both. The good news is that the Billie Eilish packs holds its ground as one of the better Beat Saber releases of the past year or so. While I enjoyed the Skrillex music pack that released just a few weeks ago, it felt very similar in style to the rest of the Beat Saber OST, mainly because of genre crossover.
I’ve found that the best Beat Saber packs are the ones that embrace the genre or artist at hand, presenting beat maps that feel consistent in style and difficulty compared to the wider catalog, while peppering a few distinct touches throughout that give the songs a flair to match the artist’s style. With the Panic! At The Disco pack, the mapping often felt quite fluid and free, matching the more upbeat, dancier style of pop punk. For Green Day, the pack felt a bit more rigid, mirroring the heavy guitar and drum rhythms that are the backbone of the band’s anthems.
The Billie Eilish pack walks a fine line somewhere in between. It presents a series of beat maps that feel both comfortably familiar within the Beat Saber library and yet also refreshingly playful with the ways they represent Billie’s unique musical style.
The interesting beats from Billie and her producer/brother Finneas give the a solid rhythmic foundation, on which they add sections that follow Billie’s vocals lines a bit closer. For the most part, it works really well and it’s starting to feel like DLC maps are getting more consistent and successful with how they split focus between instrumental and vocal rhythm – something that previous releases, (cough-Green Day-cough, really struggled with). There are times where things feel a little sloppy, especially certain representations of Billie’s more rhythmically lax vocal embellishments, but it’s a minor complaint in a series of maps that feel equally elegant, challenging and playful.
Personal highlights include you should see me in a crown, bury a friend and Therefore I Am, along with bellyache, which is now up there as one of my favorite official Beat Saber tracks of all time. The recurring issue of varying difficultly across Beat Saber music packs (both within the pack itself and compared to other releases) feels less of an issue here, if not maybe slightly improved.
There might not be one single thing I could point to that sets this Billie pack apart from the rest, but it somehow does feel like one of the most polished and well-rounded packs of the bunch. This is especially true given the volume of tracks on offer — with ten tracks included, it’s one of the larger packs as well.
Given that Billie Eilish is signed to Interscope Records, this collaboration might have been in the pipeline for quite some time — Facebook and Interscope may have been talking about this pack even before the Interscope Mixtape released earlier this year. It certainly feels like it’s had more time in the oven, backed up by the DLC’s impressive trailer (also embedded above) featuring a room of dancers doing interpretive Beat Saber moves to Billie’s music.
All in all, these songs are solid additions to the Beat Saber’s library which regular players should enjoy. However, it’s also a great presentation of Billie’s music for her fans, especially those who might play this pack at a friend’s house or on a family member’s headset as their first introduction to VR.
With the exception of BTS, every other DLC music pack for Beat Saber has featured very popular artists who have had successful careers, but are largely past the peak of their popularity. This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s a contrast to this pack, which features an artist who is absolutely all the rage right now and one of the biggest names in pop music to emerge over the last few years. Luckily for Facebook and Beat Games, they have capitalized on the opportunity well and provided one of the better (if not best) music packs available for Beat Saber.
The Billie Eilish music pack is available now for Beat Saber on all platforms, in a bundle for $12.99 or sold separately for $1.99 per track.