Billie Eilish and Rosalía’s deliver an ethereal blend of sonic styles

Hunter Schaffer sits on a bed, and her eyes face the viewer. She has a stern expression on her face.
“Los Vas A Olvidar” was featured in HBO’s hit series “Euphoria.” (Photo from instagram @Billieeilish.)

If you’ve been tracking music charts over the past few years, you’re probably no stranger to Billie Eilish and Rosalía. For two gifted artists with exponentially expansive careers over the past few years, their oppositional styles make them an unlikely duo for collaboration.

But now, they’ve teamed up to create an emotional, heart-thumping, bilingual track for HBO’s hit series “Euphoria.” Accompanied by a mesmerizing, hazy music video, their starkly-contrasting vocals, alternating call-and-response lyrics and dystopian, synthesized instrumentals contribute seamlessly to conveying the agonizing feeling of missing someone who understood but could not forget your inner demons.

Sonically, “Lo Vas a Olvidar” fits right in Eilish’s wheelhouse. Similar to her solo tracks “bad guy” and “Therefore I Am,” her voice feels right at home in the moody, synth-heavy instrumentals. On the other hand, this track’s instrumental structure signifies a departure from singer-songwriter Rosalía’s typical style, who has historically created music in more upbeat, Latin R&B/soul and Flamenco pop genres. However, she’s able to not only bring out her roots in Spanish-speaking music but also showcase a softer, angelic side to her voice.

Nonetheless, the two singers effortlessly blend their styles and effectively create an inky, lonesome, chills-inducing universe within this track. Rosalía debuts the song with clear, celestial vocals, soaring above the deep, pulsing organ-like synth, “Dime si me echas de meno’ aún” (“Tell me you miss me”). As if to respond to the call, Billie echoes a similar line with her own husky, curvy vocals, “Dime si no me perdonas aún” (“Tell me if you still don’t forgive me”). Together, in a sudden crescendo of sky-scraping harmonies, they sing, “¿Qué harás con to’ este veneno? Na’ bueno” (“What will you do with all this poison? Nothing good”). Rosalía closes out the verse alone, repeating her first haunting lyric.

With a rugged synth crescendo, we’re then launched into the heart-pounding chorus. “¿Lo va’ a olvidar?” (“Will you forget it?”), “Can you let it go? Can you let it go?/¿Lo va’ a olvidar? Can you let it go? ¿Lo va’ a olvidar?”, they repeat together as if slowly driving themselves insane from holding out hope. Their vocals spiraling toward the clouded sky as the synths hum under them, the influence of Eilish’s atmospheric musical style becomes more evident in this section of the song.

The track proceeds with muffled speaking from Rosalía, as if she was speaking on the phone: “Ah, besitos, hahaha/Take care please.” Eilish then launches into the next verse, building on the foundation laid in the first: “Dime que no te arrepientes aún” (“Tell me you still don’t regret it”). Rosalía’s heavenly vocals wander in again, “Dime si aún queda algo en común” (“Tell me if there’s still something in common left”). They make one final plea together: “El tiempo que se pierde no vuelve/Dame un beso y bájame de la cru’” (“The time that’s lost doesn’t come back/Give me a kiss and bring me down from the cross”).

Now tentatively expanded, the instrumentals become far more noticeable in this second chorus. As they swoop forward with every beat, they still remain reserved and let the emotion ring clear through the vocals, as if to hesitate in this vulnerable prayer for forgiveness. It’s also quite satisfying hearing both artists settle into their voices more here, as they are able to bring out the song’s emotional desperation and sensuality in their vocals.

Suddenly, the bridge cuts in with autotuned vocalizing from Rosalía. The electric outro begins: “El amor no puede medirse en paso’ firme’/Un día soy un dio’ y al otro puedo partirme” (“Love cannot be measured steadily/One day I am a God and the next I cannot break”). Eilish joins in, this time in English: “I needed to go ‘cause I needed to know you don’t need me/You reap what you sow, but it seems like you don’t even see me.” After Rosalía repeats her outro, Eilish concludes the saga: “You say it to me like it’s something I have any choice in/If I wasn’t important, then why would you waste all your poison?”

It is consistently impressive to watch these two artists continue to grow in their careers. “Euphoria” aside, this collaboration ended up being strikingly raw and mesmerizing. Music situated in TV series is usually hit-or-miss, often creating acute interest without significant longevity. While some may find the instrumental simplicity and slow-paced nature of the song disappointing, it doesn’t need to be more than a piece of art. It may not be the catchiest radio track, but it signifies deep growth in both artists’ careers and more than serves its purpose for the show it accompanies. To see these two artists blend fundamental elements of their current styles together into this carefully crafted and performed track makes this collaboration every bit as powerful as it should be.