Shamir – “Ocean Eyes” (Billie Eilish Cover)
In November of 2015, a 14-year-old Billie Eilish posted “Ocean Eyes,” a ballad written and produced by her older brother Finneas, on SoundCloud. The song was an overnight viral hit that eventually got a commercial release and went triple platinum. (The video was a Stereogum premiere in March of 2016! We were early on that shit!) That success was the first step toward Eilish becoming a dominant pop star in the years that followed. “Ocean Eyes” is a bit of a modern standard, and today, we get to hear the Shamir version.
Shamir Bailey, who briefly flirted with pop stardom himself, has never been shy about covering songs from pop stars. A couple of weeks ago, he teased the release of his “Ocean Eyes” cover on Instagram: “Have you ever said to yourself ‘I love “Ocean Eyes” by @billieeilish but I wish it was a haunted emo shoegaze rock song’?” Today, he’s made good on it.
Shamir has indeed turned “Ocean Eyes” into a haunted emo shoegaze rock song. His version has ringing guitars and echoing drum-machine pulses and slow-build dynamics. It also has Shamir singing hard in that impossible marvel of a voice. Check out the Shamir cover and the Eilish original below.