Review: Willow — The 1st

Categories:  The Arts    Music
Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 at 3:40 PM
Review: Willow — The 1st by Sarah Cacchione

Rating: ★★★★☆

Willow (Smith) released a new album, called The First, yet another mystical album follow-up to her 2015 album “Ardipithecus,” which was a good introduction to the capabilities that the young artist holds — with slow beats and imaginary lyrics.

This record set up very similarly to her 2015 album — with songs created using variations of genres and beat and a lot of lyrics about space and consciousness. This new album shows, however, a new interest in more acoustic, unfinished sounds throughout the songs.

“A Reason” is an example of one of the tracks that seems to show a new kind of genre that Willow is venturing into. With a lone acoustic guitar and only her voice, the song gives a very unfinished feeling with comforting vocals and guitar strums. Lyrics like, “I know there is a reason I’m alive,” further pushes the notion that this song has a comforting, positive and natural vibe for the listener.

“Romance” is the single that was released prior to the release of the full album. This song is similar to “A Reason” in the composition of the lone guitar and her vocals to create a very similar sound. However, “Romance” is a far more angsty, anger-driven song with lyrics about how the sky is “the color of bruises and cuts” and “will men and women stay equal in the eyes of society.” This song’s lyrics and ominous beat shows the listener a new direction that Willow is taking with her music. Although many of her songs still have the whimsical, magical lyrics to the likes of “Ardipithecus,” she is beginning to create stories and meaning behind her lyrics in passionate ways.

The only weaker moment of this album is towards the beginning, with the track “Boy.” Critics of Willow automatically shot down the entire album because of this track. They wanted to see —or hear — more from her than lyrics about boys and an awkward narration of being a teenager and having a crush on a boy. However, this song does still offer a very well-made instrumental background and her vocals are still able to create a mystical world of the story that she is creating — almost like a movie.

Willow is one of the most interesting young artists of recent years. She isn’t afraid to experiment with different sounds, genres and lyrics and offers these songs in a way that still seems to flow, even with the differing sounds.

“An Awkward Life of An Awkward Girl” is a crucial addition to the album’s flow. With no lyrics and only an orchestra of instruments, the piece breaks up the album to almost transition “Boy” into “And Contentment,” creating a story-like flow for the album. These songs make this album seem like more of an act or a play, creating a feeling through the ups and downs of each song. It is definitely an album to listen to in orderto completely encapsulate the feelings and emotions of the story of the album. 

Standout Tracks: "Warm Honey," "Romance" and "Human Leech"

Sarah Cacchione can be reached at

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