Billie Eilish’s A Love Letter to Los Angeles elevates sophomore album with beautiful visuals, orchestral renditions

Noah Levine, Life and Arts Film Columnist

Billie Eilish brings the concert to the sofa with her new video concert experience “Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles” on Disney+.  

The singer, alongside an orchestra and choir, runs through the entire tracklist of her sophomore album from the legendary Hollywood Bowl in downtown Los Angeles. Directed by Patrick Osborne and Robert Rodriguez, the concert/film hybrid follows an animated version of Eilish through some of Los Angeles’ locales in between live performances. 

Going in tracklist order, Eilish and the creative team bring a unique approach to each song performance. The slow ballad “Billie Bossa Nova” features warm lighting and slow paced shots, emphasizing the artistry of the orchestra’s members, while energetic tracks like “NDA” and “Oxytocin” feature a barrage of flashing lights, dark reds and fast camera movements. 

Each performance gives the tracks on “Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles” their own visual DNA. Most songs featured in the film receive a stylish revamp with the addition of powerful orchestral cues and choir elements. Most notably, “Therefore I Am” takes on a funky, malicious vibe with a variation featuring powerful horns and percussion. 

While beautifully animated, the sequences featuring the cartoon Eilish feel a bit disjointed from the entire performance. These moments serve as dividers between songs, yet there is no narrative thread connecting them. 

Standouts include a beautifully haunting intro to “Everybody Dies” where the animated Eilish walks through a moonlit cemetery. Another moment sees the singer driving past billboards sporting her face, each one reflecting another distorted image of Eilish on the hood of her car. By the end, the animated story finally converges with the live concert in an interesting but slightly unsatisfying way.

In addition to the animated and live concert elements, Eilish frequently directly addresses the audience with thankful words and insights into the album. She sings “Goldwing” with the help of a children’s choir and then explains to the audience how the opening to this song was something she once sang in choir, which happened to be the very same choir performing on stage with her. It’s a beautiful full-circle moment that adds even more emotional weight to the track. 

Overall, “Happier Than Ever: Love Letter to Los Angeles” is a colorful celebration of the singer’s sophomore album, elevating almost all of the tracks with beautiful visuals and orchestral renditions. 

4 Pitbull Growls out of 5