This article is part of What Do You Mean?, a series where we dive into the analysis and associations of the important songs of today.
After throwing us a curveball with the slow, heartfelt ‘My Future‘, Billie Eilish is going back to basics with her latest single, ‘Therefore I Am’. The philosophy reference in its title is undeniable, but what other meaning does ‘Therefore I Am’ carry?
The Descartes Reference
Probably the most glaringly obvious of the bunch is the reference to philosopher Rene Descartes’ quote “Cogito, ergo sum”, which translates to “I think, therefore I am”. The quote is used by Descartes to demonstrate how one’s ability to think is proof of their existence. Here, Eilish uses it as a kiss-off to her naysayers, as a way of saying that she has her own thoughts and opinions, things that influence her behaviour.
The single artwork also appears to feature a bust sculpture shattered into pieces, which would be in line with both the philosophy reference and Eilish not wishing to be treated like an object.
Queen Of The Mall
Interestingly, the music video for the song was shot in the Glendale Galleria, and sees Eilish causing a ruckus in the empty mall (who knew we’d ever get to see a popstar like Billie Eilish on a mall run?). Her haphazardly grabbing food from the various food joints is almost certainly a clapback to the body shaming comments she recently received when she was photographed in public wearing a camisole.
The video was also shot on an iPhone, a stark contrast from Eilish’s previous offerings of big budget productions. It’s clear that she wants to send a “because I can” message which this one.
Where You At, Copycat?
Eagle-eyed fans were quick to note the thematic similarities between ‘Therefore I Am’ and ‘COPYCAT’, the opening track on Eilish’s 2017 EP ‘Don’t Smile At Me’. The latter addresses a fellow artist who purportedly jacked Eilish’s style, and with ‘Therefore I Am’ containing lyrics like “I’m not your friend” and “When they say your name, I just act confused”, we can’t help but wonder if the song is directed at someone in particular.
Watch the music video for ‘Therefore I Am’ below: