Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter, Billie Eilish described the moment she appeared to cry black tears in her music video for ‘When the Party’s Over’ as, “like chlorine water being poured into my eyes”. With the music video for the song racking up over 500 million views on YouTube, many of the star’s fans have asked the question – how did Billie Eilish cry black tears in ‘When the Party’s Over’?
In ‘When the Party’s Over’ Billie Eilish used both practical effects and visual effects to cry black tears. Although, at first glance, it looks like nothing more than a post-production effect, Eilish and her team went to great lengths to ensure the stunt looked as professional as possible.
In order to get the effect just right, the production team placed transparent tubes over Eilish’s head, with exit holes next to the artist’s eyes. After the video was shot with the tubes releasing the black liquid – Eilish called this “black eye blood” – the post-production team edited out the tubes and the black tears effect was complete.
What Did Billie Eilish Think of the Video?
The video was Eilish’s brainchild, but the idea behind the visuals actually came from a piece of fan art that was given to her. Reflecting on the drawing, Eilish stated: “I remember standing there, looking at this drawing of me, and my eyes were black and there was black ink dripping from my eyes, and I just stared at it and I feel like I got star-struck by this image, this drawing of me.”
From the outset, Eilish knew exactly where she wanted to take the video. She told one media outlet: “I like made my mum go outside and sit on a chair, with a little table, like a very small table, in exactly the position I wanted it. I put the glass right where I wanted it. And then I started filming, and I was like, ‘OK, so it’s gonna start on this shot, it’s gonna zoom out just until here on these lyrics, and then on these lyrics, it’s gonna zoom in on the face’, you know, ‘drink, put it down, wipe your face, do that weird movement’. And I have the video of me, being a fucking dick, because I’m like filming and, basically, I was making it for the director.”
In regard to the black tears stunt, Eilish said: “I bring the most miserable things onto myself. I just do, I don’t know why I do it, but I do it. I just love pain. I’ve always loved pain. I love being uncomfortable.”
What is ‘When the Party’s Over’ About?
‘When the Party’s Over’ – which was actually penned by Eilish’s brother and fellow musician, Finneas O’Connell – details the frustrating episodes of a toxic relationship.
The song was inspired by O’Connell’s own experiences of dating. Talking about the song’s conception, the artist said: “Conceptually, most of that song came to me on a drive home from the house of a girl I was dating… When you’re the one putting an end to something, and you’re not actually happy about it, you’re not enjoying it, but you feel compelled to for some reason. I feel like there’s kind of a safety in not letting yourself become fully invested in something.”
Reflecting on the song’s lyrics, Eilish said: “I feel like everybody’s had that struggle with someone – somebody on the phone yelling for some reason, and you’re just like, ‘You know what? F—ing leave me alone.'”
How Successful was ‘When the Party’s Over’?
Like many of Eilish’s past hits, ‘When the Party’s Over’ was wildly popular upon release, and was successful critically too. One critic said: “still frame moments when she allows herself to be heard not as the cynical teenage pop star, but rather as Billie the seventeen-year-old girl who’s going through all the same things you are.”
While the track only peaked at 29th on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US, it was an international hit and ranked well all over the world from the UK to Australia.
And, it wasn’t just the track that went down well. The music video was adored by fans of the California-born Eilish, and the video would go on to be recognized for its originality and breath-taking visuals.
In 2019, the music video was nominated for Best Visual Effects at the MTV Video Music Awards, and also did well at the Clio Awards and UK Music Video Awards.