A few hundred years ago, an ancient Hindu hymn was translated into English by composer Gustav Holst and became known as "Goldwing." Now, that same hymn appears on the latest album by pop singer Billie Eilish. It's the shortest song on her new album, Happier than Ever, and it's also one of the most emotionally intense.
It's a sad yet powerful song that explores the dangers of fame and the way it can rip away the very thing that makes you happy. It's a belated warning to Billie's younger self.
This track begins with a choral arrangement that's rooted in an ancient poem from the Rig Veda, the oldest collection of sacred writings of Hinduism. The lyrics, which are about a gold-winged angel who protects her beloved's cherry, are reinterpreted by Eilish into a metaphor for innocence and betrayed hope.
In the chorus, she sings, “He hath come to the bosom of his beloved, Smiling on him, she beareth him to highest heav'n.” The verses from the hymn are transposed down a diminished fifth, a move that makes them fit better with her mezzo-soprano voice.
She ends the song by asking, "Did you think of me before you went out, did you think of me after you came home?" It's a heartbreaking moment for her, but it's also a hopeful statement that she wants to make.
While a song like this may not seem as important or relevant today, it's an important one to understand for young women in the industry. And it's especially important for the many women who haven't been able to rise up to the same level as their male counterparts, and might not even be aware of the dangers that exist within the music industry.