lately i feel EVERYTHING: The Album That’s Reinventing Indie Rock

Image+by+Rahul+Yadav+from+Pixabay

Image by Rahul Yadav from Pixabay

Over ten years ago, then nine-year-old pop singer Willow Smith shot to fame with her hit song, “Whip My Hair.” Since then, Smith has broken away from the pop music scene completely and totally rebranded herself, releasing five complete albums since her 2010 music debut. Willow’s newest album, lately i feel EVERYTHING, is a dynamic mosaic of her artistic growth, featuring some definite earworms and a unique range of sounds. 

 

lately i feel EVERYTHING is Willow’s fifth album with Roc Nation Records. Willow has also released multiple singles with Roc Nation Records, and has collaborated with numerous artists, such as indie rock band Cherry Glazerr. Several of her past songs have also blown up on Tik Tok, including “Wait a Minute!” from her first album ARDIPITHECUS and “Meet Me At Our Spot” from her more recent album, THE ANXIETY. With how great these new songs are, it won’t be long until they blow up as well.  

 

The first song of the album, “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l,” opens with a very 2000s punk rock-esque drum solo from featured artist and Blink-182 drummer, Travis Barker. Producer Tyler Cole carries this sound throughout the album, making it a great choice for the opening track.  “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l” sounds like it should be featured during the intro of a coming-of-age movie (think The Edge of Seventeen or Lady Bird vibes) and commands the listener’s attention with its very energetic and upbeat rhythm. However, the momentum from this track gets lost with its follow-up, “F**K You.” 

 

Although “F**K You” is only about thirty seconds long, it features Willow half-singing and half-yelling sloppy lyrics over a drum beat that is the musical equivalent of someone incoherently smacking a cowbell. With little to no pitch or melody, “F**K You” sounds like a joke take that mistakenly made it into the final album, and completely snaps listeners right out of the punk rock mood established in the first track. By being listed so early in the track list, the song leaves listeners worried about what they’ve gotten themselves into. 

 

Thankfully, the next songs feature intriguing and compelling compositions, which is rare for modern music. For example, the song “Come Home” sounds like it draws inspiration from a more R&B, slightly swing sound and features some really well-executed riffs and lots of Willow’s ethereal and controlled vocals. The amount of power and mastery Willow has over her voice is extremely rare, especially in such a young artist. Not only that, but the amount of musical versatility regarding both Willow’s singing and songwriting is what makes all of lately i feel EVERYTHING so incredible and so unlike traditional indie rock. 

 

However, there is still one more song towards the end of the album that takes away from lately i feel EVERYTHING’s overall quality. The album’s second to last track, “G R O W,” is a black hole that throws listeners straight into the 2000s (and not in a good way). Featuring 2000s pop punk princess Avril Lavigne towards the end of the song, “G R O W” practically tosses listeners into a velour tracksuit, Heelys, and jabs an iPod Shuffle into their hand to emphasize how early 2000s this song sounds. Although the early 2000s motif was highlighted throughout the album, “G R O W” does not capture the same nostalgia as the other songs. Instead, it just sounds tacky, like Willow is covering one of Avril Lavigne’s less well-received throwaway songs.  

 

Even though a few of the songs on lately i feel EVERYTHING may not be Willow’s best work, the majority of the album is super catchy and offers a whole new perspective on punk and indie rock. Willow continues to reinvent her sound, and her experimentation with new aesthetics and sounds makes lately i feel EVERYTHING a great collection of work. lately i feel EVERYTHING earns a 4/5. Let’s hope she continues to take the music industry by storm.  

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