8 Songs, 22 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

That Willow Smith would be a force of genre-twisting, experimental pop should surprise no one. The young star has been defying expectations since she was a kid (her debut single "Whip My Hair" was released when she was nine years old), operating with an artistic eye and an individualistic spirit. Here, the 18-year-old singer, already on her third studio album, stretches surprising sounds and textures—chilling spiritual chanting (“Then [Interlude]”) and breathy R&B-blues (“Time Machine")—into mysterious and unusual forms. The moods are extreme: “PrettyGirlz” begins as an intimate, controlled croon before bursting into a wall of dense electric guitar, and “Samo Is Now” layers dizzying, crisscrossing vocals over shy drums. Smith isn’t a powerhouse singer, but she uses her voice well, weaving her fluttery falsetto into tracks that are already vibrating with activity. And she may well be on her way to powerhouse status: On songs like “Overthinking IT,” a devastatingly soulful number that rings of Kadhja Bonet, she reveals an expansive range and vocal dexterity that suggest she’s just warming up.

EDITORS’ NOTES

That Willow Smith would be a force of genre-twisting, experimental pop should surprise no one. The young star has been defying expectations since she was a kid (her debut single "Whip My Hair" was released when she was nine years old), operating with an artistic eye and an individualistic spirit. Here, the 18-year-old singer, already on her third studio album, stretches surprising sounds and textures—chilling spiritual chanting (“Then [Interlude]”) and breathy R&B-blues (“Time Machine")—into mysterious and unusual forms. The moods are extreme: “PrettyGirlz” begins as an intimate, controlled croon before bursting into a wall of dense electric guitar, and “Samo Is Now” layers dizzying, crisscrossing vocals over shy drums. Smith isn’t a powerhouse singer, but she uses her voice well, weaving her fluttery falsetto into tracks that are already vibrating with activity. And she may well be on her way to powerhouse status: On songs like “Overthinking IT,” a devastatingly soulful number that rings of Kadhja Bonet, she reveals an expansive range and vocal dexterity that suggest she’s just warming up.

TITLE TIME

More By WILLOW