Just how big is 17-year-old pop phenomenon Billie Eilish right now?
Her debut album, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO, hasn’t left the top three spots on Billboard’s album chart since it was released in March and she’s gearing up to release a remix of her megahit “Bad Guy” with Justin Bieber this Friday.
But past all of the numbers, her brand of spooky avant-pop even has the power to bring together even the most bitter of musical rivals.
At Eilish’s recent performance in London, her father, watching from backstage, posted a short video to Instagram where he filmed both Sam Smith and Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke sitting in surprisingly close proximity in the balcony, Yorke in a pensive state while Smith rocked out just as hard as Eilish’s young fans.
“Messrs. S. Smith and T. Yorke enjoying the proceedings,” Eilish’s father Patrick O’Connell wrote.
The relationship between Smith and Yorke has been icy since the release of the 2015 James Bond film Spectre, which featured Smith joining the ranks of legendary Brits who had sung a Bond theme with his Academy Award-winning track “Writing’s on the Wall.”
Of course, Smith had to beat out some equally impressive contenders to land the Bond-film honours, including a Radiohead song called “Spectre” which was later released on SoundCloud on Christmas Day.
When asked about what he thought of Radiohead’s song at the Golden Globes– where he was also awarded for his Bond track – Smith seemed unsure of who Yorke even was, then clarified “I haven’t listened to it personally, because I did the Spectre theme song.”
Interesting that Smith would say that, since there’s a song, “Midnight Train,” on his latest album that sounds almost exactly like Radiohead’s “Creep,” but we’ll oblige.
Of course, the famously blunt Yorke had to offer his own take on what may or may not be a celebrity beef in a recent interview with the Times of London promoting his freshly-released solo project, Anima.
Similarly feigning ignorance to the other’s existence, Yorke referred to Smith as “What’s-his-name, the guy who did the Bond film we didn’t do,” and went on to describe the scene at the concert.
“He stands behind us, and I’m sitting with my daughter, her friends and my girlfriend, when suddenly everyone goes ‘Sam!’ I’m like, ‘Aaaargh!’’
Yorke’s shots at his fellow British superstars didn’t stop there, as alt-rock titans Muse caught a stray bullet.
When talking about his newfound affinity for 1950s film score composer Oskar Sala, Yorke expressed his disgust at Spotify’s recommendations system: “If you like this, you’ll like this, and then it gives me Muse.”
This might partially explain why Yorke once hilariously referred to the streaming service as “the last desperate fart of a dying corpse.”
For all of Yorke’s affinity for throwing colourful insults around at just about anyone and anything, he didn’t seem too bothered by Smith’s presence at the concert in the video posted to O’Connell’s Instagram.
It caught him sitting down seemingly in a state of deep concentration and taking in the music, despite his rival standing in the row behind him waving around a glass of beer.
“She’s doing her own thing,” Yorke said about Eilish later in the interview. “Nobody’s telling her what to do.”
Make that three legendary rockstars Eilish has now received high praise from – Yorke, Dave Grohl, and even Paul McCartney have recently expressed their love for the young singer in interviews.
If a track as great as “You Should See Me in a Crown” can make Smith and Yorke coexist for a second, maybe they’re all right.