Willow’s new single, ‘Transparent Soul,’ plunges into metal and punk

Songwriter and singer Willow Smith has been in the spotlight for the majority of her life. In 2010, she released her first single “Whip My Hair” at the age of ten, which soared in popularity. She also has a background in acting, appearing in Madagascar 2: Return to Africa and popular cartoon Adventure Time. 

Smith truly began her musical career with the release of her debut album, Ardipithecus, in 2015 under the performer name Willow. Her music best falls under the R&B genre with pop, indie, and edm elements as well. In her music, she often explores themes of self-discovery, interpersonal relationships and human emotion. Many of her lyrics are inspired by her own self-reflection, with Willow being the sole songwriter on almost all of her music. 

After her first album, Willow went on to release three more albums: The 1st (2017), Willow (2019), and R I S E (2020); R I S E being done in collaboration with Jahnavi Harrison. Willow is acclaimed for her range in terms of genres as well as her vocals themselves.

On April 27, Willow released a new song titled “Transparent Soul” as a teaser for her new album slated to come out this summer. The song is a large departure from her usual genres while still exploring similar themes to her past works. 

“Transparent Soul” channels punk, metal and rock influences in both the song itself as well as the music video which surpassed a million views within two weeks of its uploading. The song also features Travis Barker on the drums while Willow herself plays the guitar throughout the song. 

The song is emotionally striking with intense visuals reminiscent of classic rock music videos. Willow’s punk attire adds to the emotion that can be heard in her voice as she sings, almost shouting at some points in the song. She is able to evoke a feeling of power, but also a sense of fatigue from having disingenuous people in her life — people who have become transparent souls to her. The lyrics express Willow’s ability to read ill-intentioned people easily as a result of having to deal with them often, and the power of the song amplifies the frustration she feels from having to deal with them. 

In an interview with W Magazine, Willow said that because her new album would revolve around genres she had yet to tap into, she felt very apprehensive of taking on the project. “I always wanted to do a metal album, because my mom was my inspiration as a child,” Willow said. “I went on tour with her when I was seven or eight, when she performed at Ozzfest with her band, Wicked Wisdom.” Willow expressed her concerns about writing “Transparent Soul” as a result of her musical background. “I never thought I could do rock music, because I was trained since I was eight to sing R&B,” Willow said. 

Willow once again adds to her reputation of having the range to do it all with “Transparent Soul,” adding another genre to her belt. While the name is still unrevealed to the public, the tone for WIllow’s new album has been made crystal clear.