Willow Camille Reign Smith, more commonly known as just Willow, is an American singer and actress, noted for her roles in I Am Legend and Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. She launched her career back in 2010, with her single ‘Whip My Hair’, and has been building steadily from that point, releasing a variety of singles and albums. Today, I will be reviewing her album ‘lately I feel EVERYTHING’ which was released on July 16, 2021 via MSFTSMusic, Roc Nation and Polydor Records.
‘t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l (ft. Travis Barker)’ kicks off with a hard percussion that blends into high energy strings as the song begins in earnest. Willow’s voice has a depth and strength to it that makes her a really engaging vocalist. She matches the intensity and energy of the instrumental backing, bringing her own intensity, fierceness and edge to her delivery. This is a really strong start to what I’m sure will be an amazing album.
‘F**k You’ is a short interlude, and it really broadcasts the core message of the album, this sort of heavy energy and mood. I really liked it, it felt authentic and really worked within the context of the rest of the tracks.
‘Gaslight (ft. Travis Barker)’ explodes forward, and as I touched on above, you can really feel Willow’s vocal skill. She is a singer who has perfectly captured how she feels and is expressing it, and you get caught up in that. I didn’t mention it earlier, but Travis is an amazing drummer and he really adds a lot with his percussive contributions.
‘don’t SAVE ME’ isn’t as intense off the bat in terms of instrumentals but you again get hammered by the raw, unfiltered emotions of Willow. Also this has a really catchy vibe overall, an infectiously cacophonous energy that really works,
‘naïve’ slows things down, and shows a softer, more melodic side to Willow’s voice, and also just how powerful she is as a singer. You could get lost in this track, the complexity and the simplicity, the counterpoints between the softer and higher moments. It’s a really superb song, and I think probably my favourite on the entire album.
‘Lipstick’ subverts expectations by seeming like it’s going to keep things slower, more ambient, and then it just blows up, Willow gets the opportunity to just deliver some show stoppingly powerful vocals sections, blended together with some tight, percussive heavy instrumental sections that really make the song everything that it can be.
‘Come Home (ft. Ayla Tesler-Mabe)’ has a really nice guitar heavy intro, it’s a slow staccato beat that expertly supports the vocals of Willow and Ayla, speaking of which they work together, their distinctive voices blending and working together beautifully.
‘4ever’ is another slower song, and in it you really get to see another side to Willow, while some of the other songs on here are full of heavy passion and fire, this is softer and sadder and more emotional. It also happens to stack very highly on my personal favourite tracks on the album. Something about it just really works for me.
‘XTRA (ft. Tierra Whack)’ is served really well by the two different vocalists, they are both obviously very talented but whereas Willow and Ayla complimented one another and cooperated, Willow and Tierra counterpoint and flow differently and the result is a song that’s rich in no small part due to their differences.
‘G R O W (with Avril Lavigne & ft. Travis Barker) has more phenomenal drum work from the amazing Travis Barker, and his frenzied and powerful playing, provide the perfect backdrop for the well established punk rock talents of Avril Lavigne and obviously Willow’s equally strong voice talents. This song has a really nice energy to it, and my only complaint is that it felt brief especially considering who was involved.
‘¡BREAKOUT! (ft. Cherry Glazerr)’ is an amazing conclusion to what has been an amazing album, it has an amazing explosive energy, the inclusion of the band, Cherry Glazerr really sends us off with a bang, in particular the vocal sections, with both singers really smashing it out of the park.
So that’s what I thought of Willow’s album ‘lately I feel EVERYTHING’ and if you want to check that out for yourself then head on over to Spotify. While you’re at it, make sure and support the artist by checking out their website, and by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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