At its core pop-punk is fun – often it talks about deeply emotional subjects with the archetype of “the outsider” representing the movement yet the occasional tearjerkers but the evergrowing loud and the deeply melancholic genre has made a comeback in 2021. Leading the way to the top of its game is WILLOW with her latest album ‘lately I feel EVERYTHING’.
The 20-year-old’s fourth album gives the newer generation the chance to get embraced by not only Smith’s vision of what pop-punk should be in 2021 but also introduces them to her influences Avril Lavigne and Blink 182’s, Travis Barker. And although ‘lately I feel EVERYTHING’, familiarises itself with the instrumentals and melodies of what should be, WILLOW’s latest effort can easily be seen as a Gen Z twist of its predecessors.
‘t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l (feat. Travis Barker)’, the album’s breakout hit – gave away to a new era of the genre-bending talented artist – by proving to encompass important topics whilst coating it in a catchy rhythm to engross the masses and lure them into the world of ‘lately I feel EVERYTHING’. The record sways from deeply emotional guitar-rock tracks like ‘4ever’ to fierce nu-metal inspired ‘Breakout (feat. Cherry Glazerr).
Throughout the eleven songs, Smith goes on a journey full of moments drenched in clarity, sharing with us her evolving mental state. And as Willow is never one to shy away from the harsh reality of her deepest thoughts and emotions, ‘lately I feel EVERYTHING’ explores race, romance, anxiety and self-improvement. “Cause no one ever truly knows just who they are – And I feel closer knowing I don’t have to hide my scars,”, might be one of the lyrics from ‘Grow’ Willow’s top-notch hit with Avril Lavigne providing backing vocals, but also encompasses the motto of the entire record.
The California native, who has been enticing the world ever since her first single ‘Whip My Hair’ came out when she was just 10-years-old, has proven yet again that there’s nothing she can’t do. Willow is not only an enormously talented individual but also leaves a trace of her personality onto everyone who is touched by her music. ‘lately I feel EVERYTHING’, might not be the first album to be released since the pop-punk revolution started but the immense joy that comes from listening to the album makes it one that will stand the test of time.
Written by: Lauren Dehollogne