Following the success of “Black Is King” and “Taylor Swift’s Folklore: The Long Pond Sessions”, Disney+ is getting another brand new exclusive musical special from one of the biggest artists right now, Billie Eilish.
Coming in at over 100 minutes long, we get to hear all 16 tracks from Billie’s “Happier Than Ever” album. Each song has a different visual style, usually, it’s just a colour change, but it’s actually very effective. In one song, the stage is blue; then later, it’s orange. It’s very simple, but visually it works very nicely.
It’s mixed up with some “Roger Rabbit” style scenes, where a cartoon version of Billie drives around some of the famous sights of Los Angeles. The animation style of Billie is cel-shade animation, which Disney is also using in the Marvel Studios “What If?” animated series and is commonly used in video games like “The Walking Dead” Telltale games.
These animated scenes are a nice break from the stage and make it feel a little more “Disney”. Though nothing really happens in these animated scenes, as much like Billie’s music, it’s all very laid back, but doesn’t really make much difference to the overall experience.
Unlike a normal filmed concert experience, you’d get plenty of shots of the crowd, with fans going crazy and getting an insight into what it was like to be there. However, since this was filmed during a pandemic, so there wasn’t any audience in the seats, but the special concert was filmed at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles. Because it was outside, they occasionally use a full orchestra on many of the songs, and for one track, they even bring in Billie’s old school choir, which makes the songs sound even grander. In contrast, some of the songs had just her on the stage with a small band (it was odd as the drummer looked like he was placed in a glass box on the stage). There’s also a lovely duet with her brother Finneas O’Connell, which reminded me of some of the old MTV Unplugged specials.
Before this special was announced, I had heard of Billie Eilish and liked a couple of her previously released songs, like her theme for the next James Bond film, but I wouldn’t have considered myself a fan. So I went into this concert with an open mind and generally I was very surprised. Her style is very laid back, and because she tends to whisper, sometimes I did struggle to hear what she was singing (but that could just be my middle-aged ears!), but there is something very relaxing about her voice. Much like with the previous music specials, they do have a repeat viewing value, and I’ve already watched this twice. I’m probably going to pop it on a few more times over the next week, as it’s nice background TV to have one while I’m working or doing chores. I think Disney is onto something with these music Disney+ Originals, because they provide lots of repeat viewing value, similar to how people rewatch music videos over and over.
Overall, I enjoyed “Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter To Los Angeles”. I found it to be a really relaxing concert, with a few more upbeat tracks in there. With music, it’s either something you like or don’t. If you love the album or Billie Eilish, then this is going to be an easy recommendation. I’d suggest popping the concert on and checking it out. If you don’t like her musical style, then it’s not going to be worth watching, but I enjoyed it and think this is a great way of bringing some variety to the Disney+ Originals.
Rating 3.5 out of 5.
“Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter To Los Angeles” is coming to Disney+ on Friday 3rd September.
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.