WILLOW’s self-titled album will set you free.

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MSFTSMusic, Roc Nation

The cover of WILLOW’s third studio album, ‘WILLOW’.

Mason Montano, Music Editor

As the daughter of American actor and rapper Will Smith, American singer-songwriter and musician WILLOW entered the public eye at a very young age.

She launched her music career when she was just 9 years old, releasing her debut single, “Whip My Hair”, in October 2010, which peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was followed by the less successful singles “21st Century Girl” and “Fireball” with Trinidadian rapper and singer Nicki Minaj in 2011.

She would eventually discard the dance-oriented, teen pop sound of her early singles and take a more serious, experimental R&B approach with her debut EP, 3, in October 2014 that would be further explored by her otherworldly debut album, ARDIPITHECUS, in December 2015 and her raw sophomore album, The 1st, in October 2017.

In mid-July, WILLOW released her self-titled third studio album, and as expected, it’s a trippy and beautiful experience.

In comparison to the intense production and strong vocal performances of her previous work, WILLOW is much softer and more atmospheric, with ethereal vocals that transport the listener to a dreamscape far beyond the real world.

Lyrically, the album discusses themes of dissociation from reality, female empowerment, and mental health over stripped-down, live instrumentation.

“Time Machine” is an existential ballad that describes feeling as though you’ve been born in the wrong generation that sees WILLOW fantasizing about going to the 1980s — a time period that she’s expressed a strong desire to live in, as she feels that she would be much happier then than now — and “PrettyGirlz” is a love letter to women, with WILLOW, who came out as bisexual in late June, singing about how all women are beautiful in their own way.

The final track, “Overthinking IT”, discusses how overthinking a situation can hold a someone back from reaching their full potential, and the outro takes this claim a step further, explaining how people sometimes use religion as an excuse to avoid dealing with their problems and pray to God to fix their insecurities instead of actively working toward reaching said potential, commenting on how humans are comfortable with settling for a mundane life of ignorance.

An impressive comeback for the free-spirited teen idol, WILLOW continues to stun the world with her brilliant lyrics and enchanting melodies, and WILLOW is available now across all online and streaming platforms.

Stream WILLOW on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/4B2pV5Zds6478QOqA8yqdj?si=qiW1uhRoTVWVkWK1ATQX4Q 

MSFTSMusic, Roc Nation
WILLOW as she appears in the press release photos for ‘WILLOW’.

This article was revised in April 2020.