It’s wild to think that “Happier Than Ever” was the sixth single from Billie Eilish’s eponymous 2021 album. The title track to one of Uproxx’s Best Albums of 2021 has seen its share of different versions. From Eilish sitting on a Sesame Street stoop and singing a duet with The Count, to a recent Saturday Night Live performance where it began in its humble and sweet fashion, before unfurling into a raucous rock jam out.
But we just found out a surprising fact about the song’s origins. In a new interview with Billboard, Eilish’s brother and producer Finneas revealed that they wrote the song on what he dubbed “the cheapest guitar ever made.” They were in a Danish town called Middlefart (seriously) at the time when the process began and the rest is pop music history. Here’s how Finneas described it:
“We started writing that song in the summer of 2019. We had a U.S. run, and we flew straight to the U.K. to play Glastonbury. We were in a town in Denmark called Middelfart, [and] we were super jet lagged. I had this little toy guitar that’s like a beginners’ kids guitar that I got at Guitar Center for $80, which is like, the cheapest guitar ever made. It just sounded really cute. I was sitting around with Billie, and we started writing that melody that was sort of the first chorus, the, “When I’m away from you, I’m happier than ever” part. It was correlated to what she was going through in her life at that exact moment. We knew that we liked that idea, but we weren’t in the period of time where we were like crunching down on an album, so we just put it in our back pocket and we’d write a line or two here and there.”
Cute, indeed. And it just goes to show, that you don’t necessarily need an inordinate amount of equipment to write pretty songs that have the potential to resonate with millions.
Read Finneas’ interview with Billboard in its entirety here.