When we think of Willow Smith, a couple of images may jump to mind: the spunky little girl who became a 2010 icon for singing about whipping her hair around, or the angsty teenager of her eponymous experimental R&B album. But with her upcoming release, lately i feel EVERYTHING, and the corresponding single “Lipstick,” WILLOW declares herself free of our expectations. With this most recent project, she’s broken out of every box she’s ever been placed in, and we’re loving every second of it.
On “Lipstick” and the album itself, which is scheduled to drop on July 16, Smith experiments heavily with punk, hard rock, and metal sounds, all uncharted territories in her music—and traditionally white, male-dominated genres. Her lyrics deal with themes of the fragility of our sense of self and our commitment to self-expression and liberation, a sentiment Smith captures within the first few lines of the song: “Lipstick on a mirror/Saying who you want to be/Vision gets dimmer/The room is closing in on me.” But on this album, she breaks out of the box. On the subject, Smith states that she “just wanted to let loose with this album. [She] wanted to have fun and be young and not be so existential and worrying all the time.” And she succeeds.