Billie Eilish has been praised for creating “surprises around every corner” with her new album titled Hit Me Hard And Soft.

The third studio album from the US singer-songwriter is the follow-up to her critically-acclaimed records Happier Than Ever released in 2021 and her debut record When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? in 2019.

The Telegraph music critic Neil McCormick gave the album five stars, describing it as “explicit, sapphic and her best work yet”.

The 96th Academy Awards – Vanity Fair Party – Los Angeles
Billie Eilish after winning her second Academy Award this year (Doug Peters/PA)

“The young superstar’s sensual heartbreak masterpiece is great enough to stand alongside Joni Mitchell’s Blue,” he said.

While Will Hodgkinson for the Times gave the album four out of five stars, describing it as “confident and non-conformist”.

“Eilish has displayed impressive confidence in herself by making such a characterful work at the height — and no, it has not passed its peak — of her career,” he said.

“She may be addressing young concerns but she’s an old soul. That comes across in an album that builds an impressionistic world that’s entirely her own.”

El Hunt from the Standard also awarded the album a full five stars, saying there are “surprises around every corner of this album”.

The 94th Academy Awards – Vanity Fair Party – Los Angeles
Billie Eilish after winning her first Academy Award in 2022 (Doug Peters/PA)

“In a year marked by baggy, poorly-curated, unexciting and frankly complacent releases from some of mainstream pop’s biggest stars, this kind of originality and risk-taking feels particularly welcome,” they wrote.

“Sure, we’re only halfway through the year, but so far, Eilish’s best album yet is miles ahead of the rest of the pop pack.”

Another four-star review came from Alexis Petridis at the Guardian, who described it as “still the great outlier of American pop”.

“An album that keeps wrongfooting the listener, Hit Me Hard And Soft is clearly intended as something to gradually unpick: a bold move in a pop world where audiences are usually depicted as suffering from an attention deficit that requires instant gratification.

“Hit Me Hard And Soft isn’t in the business of providing that. In its place, it offers evidence that, among the ranks of mega-selling pop stars, Billie Eilish remains a fascinating law unto herself.”