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Here’s What Billie Eilish’s “CHIHIRO” Music Video *Actually* Means

Billie Eilish’s third album “HIT ME HARD AND SOFT” has taken the internet by storm. In the daring album, Eilish explores themes of fame, toxic relationships, falling in (and out of) love, her sexuality, and more. 

The album’s third track “CHIHIRO” references the main character of the Oscar-winning film Spirited Away directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The film follows “a girl who learned to face her fears by developing a heightened understanding and appreciation of life,” as explained by a Studio Ghibli employee (the studio that produced the film).

On June 6, Eilish released her self-directed music video of the track, which is pretty deep.

When speaking “CHIHIRO” to Rolling Stone in May 2024, Eilish said, “The song is loosely based off of that movie, which is one of my favorites. It’s kind of from her point of view, mixed with mine. The visuals in that movie are some of the best ever — all that Studio Ghibli sh*t is unbelievable.” She added, “There’s all those visuals of the train in the water after the flood, and it literally looks like an ocean with a train track. I had just watched Spirited Away and Finneas had made that beat. I love that movie. I’ve seen it so many times.”

The lyrics of the song relate to the themes of Spirited Away, discussing feeling lost, loss, the discomfort of the unknown, and reuniting with those you love. In the chorus, Eilish sings, “Open up the door, can you open up the door? / I know you said before you can’t cope with any more / You told me it was war, said you’d show me what’s in store / I hope it’s not for sure, can you open up the door?”

In Eilish’s self-directed MV, she is seen escaping an empty building and fighting her lover (Nat Wolff) who keeps disappearing, while alluding to the depiction of toxicity. Eilish continues to lose this individual, leading her to a field where they inevitably end up in a tussle of conflicting feelings.

Her surreal music video begins eerily as she explores an abandoned, empty building where she continuously opens and closes every door, which seems to represent different scenarios that are repeated with an anticipated different outcome. 

@_nil4us

THIS IS MAKING ME THINK FOR OVER 10 MINUTES RN. #bilieeilish #billieeilishchihiromv

♬ original sound – zade ୨୧

Everything Billie Eilish touches is, without a doubt, the greatest and this MV was no exception.

Amanda is a freshman Writing and Rhetoric major with a Creative Writing minor at James Madison University. Amanda loves binge-watching "Sex and the City", drinking iced lattes, cuddling cats, reading romance and thriller novels, and listening to music (Taylor Swift, Phoebe Bridgers, Gracie Abrams, and Olivia Rodrigo mostly). Ultimately, Amanda wishes to pursue a career involving writing, reading, editing, or publishing.