Release Date: Jul 16, 2021
Record label: Roc Nation
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An obvious and instinctive departure from the sound on her debut album Ardipithecus (2015), this new offering sees the 20 year old musician collaborate with some of the scene's biggest stars as she ricochets between apathy and euphoria via raucous guitar riffs and yearning vocals. Born from a desire to make a record that would allow her to "have fun, be young and not be so existential and worrying all the time," WILLOW is embracing her enduring love for My Chemical Romance, Paramore and Avril Lavigne and channelling their collective energy. This isn't an ambiguous, introspective collection of songs that beg for intense analysis.
Willow Smith didn't think she was capable of singing rock music. Her pivot from dreamy pop and R&B to angsty punk rock was a surprise to her fans, but was nearly universally embraced when her earworm of a single " t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l" dropped a few months ago. Her affinity for the pop-punk acts of the early aughts such as My Chemical Romance, Paramore and Avril Lavigne, as well as her mother Jada Pinkett Smith (the former frontwoman for nu-metal band Wicked Wisdom), paved the way for her to follow down the rock path.
Willow Smith wants to enroll at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study physics. She wants to learn about the "beautiful mystery" of the unseeable, she says. But all that's apparently five years away. In the meantime, she's written an unofficial honors thesis on a different imperceptible force: anxiety, and the sentiments that come with it.
To some, the name Willow Smith is all but an automatic musical signifier for the track 'Whip My Hair' which, despite releasing in 2010, sounds like a cheesy bop from the mid-90s. Regardless of whether her debut single is now seen as irksome or not, her fourth full-length record, 'Lately I Feel Everything', is about as diametrically opposed from her child-friendly crunk roots as possible, blending hard-hitting pop-punk with relaxed R&B in a wonderfully direct way. It doesn't break either genre wide open, but the mononymous WILLOW handles herself exceptionally well in both camps.
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