lately I feel EVERYTHING
A decade after Willow Smith taught us how to whip our hair back and forth, the genre-bending artist is still just getting started. Her sound has evolved from bubblegum pop hits to alt-R&B to, now, a full pop-punk album. However, her transition into the genre shouldn’t be surprising, since rock runs in her blood: Her first introduction to the medium was from being on the road with her mother Jada Pinkett Smith’s nu-metal band Wicked Wisdom in the early 2000s. Then the multi-hyphenate talent experimented with rock-adjacent sounds on tracks like “Human Leech” from her 2017 album The 1st, and more prominently on her 2020 album THE ANXIETY. All of these moments set the groundwork for the singer’s fifth studio album. Created and recorded during quarantine, lately I feel EVERYTHING is an homage to the touchstones of 2000s pop-punk, such as blink-182, Avril Lavigne, and Fefe Dobson. The opening track “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l” is an upbeat, energetic, angst-ridden anthem with a mix of clean and distorted guitars backed by booming drums courtesy of blink-182’s drummer Travis Barker, who assists on two other tracks on the album. For every angsty pop-punk like “Gaslight” and “G R O W”—which features none other than Lavigne herself—there’s a heavier metal-influenced track like “Lipstick,” “don’t SAVE ME,” or “Come Home,” showing WILLOW’s growth not only as a singer but as a songwriter.