Willow on Unknown Sundays 05-2016

Willow. Yes, that’s right, Willow Smith. Not so “unknown” right? Well, maybe what you don’t really know is that she’s a far cry from the more calculated talents of her famous parents. This is a young girl (teenager–about 15-yikes) that self proclamation “angrier than a swarm of hornets” has us completely shocked, surprised, and in awe of her perplexing debut album “Ardipithecus.” We’re taking notice! Not really reviewing the album here, but taking stock on the unbelievable age and value she has–and might have.
Ardipithecus is a genus of an extinct hominine that lived during Late Miocene and Early Pliocene in Afar Depression, Ethiopia. Yeah, what Wikipedia said. Huh? And then, so begins the album with “Organization and Classification” with her child’s cry that is as genuine as anyone in whine and passion. Think of Silverchair’s debut (I know, completely different genre–but it’s hard to heavy-in at this age/development). This is an artist with a direct intent that is well organized, but careful to deconstruct the classifications of each track to amuse and abuse the listener with aged thoughts (that’s teenage age–not beyond). She’s not trying to outsmart you–she’s just being herself and allowing the emotional writing to match some teen-cleverness in a Bjork meets PJ Harvey vocalization (even pitchy like SIA at times) against modest yet-driving beats and production.
She apparently wrote 14 of the 15 tracks, which at her age is an amazing feature in the ears of us here at Beyond Your Radio. We’re just going to let that all hang here…as…impressive.

Willow will be a forced to be reckoned with if her direction is allowed and tinkered with slightly–allowing her to continue to thrive from her emotions, angst, and vocal exploration (her vocal is young–very young at this point) and grow in the trade of singer-songwriter and broad production values that will make her approachable from a variety of respectable genres. The potential of limitless design and styles is definitely audible, and that makes it all the worth and while. It’s all about the experiences she’s going to have that will mold her next musical endeavor, and that makes it very exciting, considering where she is at this point.

This is quite the jump from the pop-child at 10 years old that caught the “cloud” by storm with the “Whip” of her hair…and we can’t wait for the next big jump–which if you take the time to give her a chance on with this venture, Ardipithecus as it might prepare you better for the next evolution of…Willow.


Willow Albums in my collection:  Ardipithecus, <copingmechanism>
*Wicked Wisdom Albums in my collection:  Wicked Wisdom (self titled debut)

This “Unknown Sundays” was done back on January 31st of 2016, and at the time there was no telling what Ms. Smith was going to do, and of course there’s all kinds of acting business in her life.  The “<copingmechanism>” record is equally interesting and pop-jaw-dropping in effect, but it definitely centers more in a pop-rock environment over systematic production of past, which seems a bit more accessible for sure.  There’s a lot of cool alternative licks and tricks metered in with the pop-friendly leads that really mechanize with her vocal delivery.  Whether this is a stop gap in the evolution of this unpredictable artist, considering her dabbling with mom’s (Jada Smith) metal band, *Wicked Wisdom, joining them live for a reunion, Willow has a lot of traits, musicianship and style to offer the music multiverse. Her namesake or parents might have opened a door, but it was her door to step through and nail it.  And, she’s definitely done that.     – Mark Kulgowski  [April 16th 2023]

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