‘What Was I Made For’, disillusioned and demotivated.

Billie Eilish’s ‘What Was I Made For’ reduces fan listeners and Barbie audiences to tears. What about this ballad is so powerful?

Video: gify.com; Photo: Music.Apple.com

Celebrated artist and daughter of a Mattel factory worker, Billie Eilish, has had a long relationship with Barbie and the message that the doll represents. For the Barbie movie, Billie wrote a uniquely somber song that is famous for making both movie-goers and music lovers cry.

A Tough Question

‘What Was I Made For’ is an emotive, introspective song questioning the purpose of doing what we do.

In the Greta Gerwig movie, the song syncs up with Ruth Handler (creator of Barbie) saying: “Close your eyes and feel”. Barbie cries as scenes of young girls, mothers, and elderly women overlay one another on the screen.

Ruth Handler and Barbie holding hands
Photo via Warner Brothers

When did it End? All the Enjoyment

In a recent interview with Apple Music, Eilish discusses how this song made her realize that she had been uninspired at work for some time. The spark had diminished and she was lost about how to get it back.

The song for the Barbie movie helped reignite her passion while simultaneously allowing her to reflect subconsciously about the circumstances that led to where she is in her career.

When pursuing long-term goals, no matter how much we enjoy it, we all get stuck in a ‘rut’ sometimes. Whether we have reached our ‘personal best’ and ‘peaks’, or still in pursuit of what we want, we may lose sight of our future goals. That’s normal and very human.

What Was I Made For by Billie Eilish
Photo via Billie Eilish Official YouTube Channel

I Don’t Know How to Feel But I Wanna Try

The metaphor about the doll in the song’s music video illustrates Billie’s feelings of disconnection from the earlier part of her career. Possibly, now that she holds creative autonomy at the height of fame, she has the ability to do whatever she may want. That’s a scary idea!

While limitations and boundaries are disgruntling, sometimes it presents a safe zone for us to operate.

Billie mentioned wearing an unconventional outfit to the Barbie Premiere because she felt like it.
Photo via Billie Eilish official Instagram

Wherever we are in our journey, there will be those moments of questioning, whether we are at the top of our game or still getting there. The difference with the direction that ensues depends on how honest we are with ourselves about how we feel and where we are headed

During the Apple interview, Eilish took a beat to repeat to the camera that the song represents her feelings precisely and presently.

“Every single lyric is exactly how I feel. Exactly how I feel. Every lyric! Exactly how I feel. You hear me? Look at my mouth. It’s exactly how I feel. It’s about my life.”

Allowing yourself to pause and feel the feel, could be the start of the end of that slump. It’s ok to go into those scary, uncharted territories of unknown feelings. Mull about it with some wise guidance and you might surprise yourself with the outcome.

For Eilish, the realization could well be looking back at where it all started.

Eilish recounts that when she wrote her first hit song, Ocean Eyes. “I wasn’t making it to become anything.”

Perhaps, that’s the home-coming that is needed to reignite the spark for a long journey.

Some thoughts to pack into your journey 

Problems with adulting



Making wise decisions




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