Wednesday, September 28, 2022

WILLOW fuses philosophy with punk-rock on new single ‘curious/furious’

WILLOW’s identity as a multidimensional music artist has always set her apart from her contemporaries. The daughter of Hollywood greats Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, it would have been all too easy for WILLOW to coast along, contributing little in terms of meaningful personality.

But since the early days of her music career, which began when she was only nine years old, her public presence has been defined by an unwillingness to conform to expectations. Breakout singles ‘Whip My Hair’ and ‘21st Century Girl’ placed her in a league above fellow tween stars in their Rihanna-esque catchiness, and in 2011 she became the youngest artist to be signed by Jay-Z’s record label, Roc Nation.

Initially pigeon-holed as an R’n’B artist, WILLOW has since become a major figure in the mainstream revival of the emo and pop-punk scenes. Her 2021 album, ‘lately I feel EVERYTHING’, saw her experimenting further in different genres, suggesting an artistic identity that is constantly in flux.

Her latest single, ‘curious/furious’, is more evidence of this continued creative growth. It follows previously released tracks ‘<maybe> it’s my fault’ and ‘hover like a GODDESS’ in the lead up to her full-length album ‘<COPINGMECHANISM>’. The new track’s psychedelic cover art reflects its tumultuous energy, with the urge to retreat into hopelessness clashing with a desire to be open and engage with life.

‘curious/furious’ is a rollercoaster of mood shifts, elevated by WILLOW’s soulful and expressive vocals, which evocatively strain in the chorus as she cries out, “curious, furious, I feel alone.” The amped-up electric guitar that follows blends frustration with catharsis, with the heavy production never overshadowing her voice.

At times, the track sees her wrestle with feeling personally responsible for the wrongs of the world, as she attempts to “refract the wisdom to heal the abyss.” But at other moments, WILLOW seems to make peace with the power wielded simply in the outreach of her music. “Somebody needs to know that … / when this life is looking dark / it’s all that we have.” Many of the lyrics function dually as an internal monologue and a message of compassion towards listeners.

It's s song that feels emblematic of an artist who believes in the power of music to ignite cultural shifts and conversations. Alongside her peers, WILLOW often employs the transformative power of music to normalise topics of mental health issues and self-acceptance. “My goal is to embody pure love and acceptance,” she tells Glamour Magazine, “And to inspire other people to find that place within themselves and do the same.”

Frequently candid about the struggles she faces and eloquent in her expression of them, there’s no doubt that WILLOW’s continued evolution as an artist will be exciting to witness. ‘curious/furious’ indicates a musician who is at once a product of her time and who possesses a distinctive, timeless quality.

WILLOW’s new album ‘<COPINGMECHANISM>’ will be available on all platforms on 7th October. It is available for pre-order now.



Eleanor Burleigh


Image: WILLOW ‘curious/furious’ Official Single Cover

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