After spending years developing her R&B sound to a point of making consistently good tracks, WILLOW threw a curve ball with a headfirst dive into the world of pop-punk, backed by the busy as ever Travis Barker. While her entry into the genre isn’t perfect, “lately I feel EVERYTHING” is a solid entry into the genre that I hope WILLOW explores again in the future.
First of all, I have to commend how WILLOW’s R&B vocals fit perfectly with these dirtier pop-punk production. I’ve seen a lot of artists try to cross genres into a rock or punk to have only fallen completely on their face, but WILLOW actually fits into these instrumentals quite naturally. Speaking of which, these instrumentals sound like they were done by someone who actually regularly listens to guitar focused music. I know that sounds like a low bar to jump over, especially with Travis Barker being heavily involved, but after hearing so many artists who probably decided to jump into punk on a whim pick god awful production like Logic, G-Eazy, or most recently TRAMP STAMPS, it sounds like WILLOW actually has a knowledge on what makes those genres great and picked artists, producers, and collaborators that knew what they were doing. Quick side note - Tierra Whack on a rock instrumental sounded great, I hope we get to hear that more often. With WILLOW’s great performances over solid pop-punk production, it seems like she really found a sound that reliably works for her.
As far as criticisms go, I think a big one is how short the album and each song is. Not even half the song here making it past the 2:30 mark, a good bit of them don’t even make it to two minutes, and it feels like some songs struggle by not having enough time to develop. I also think “lately I feel EVERYTHING” struggles with its flow for quite a few reasons. While I understand why you would want a strong statement to be your opening song, but I think making your best song also be your opener usually hurts your album’s pace unless every song that follows is of a similar quality. This is only worsened by having the worst song immediately follow it, which would have been fine as a midway interlude but throws a wrench in the album’s flow by being the second song. I also think the last two tracks being some of the record’s weakest, one for being way too clean and the other for poor vocal mixing, ends things on a sour note.
It’s not a perfect transition by any means, but WILLOW actually managed to handle it better than a lot of other artists and just so happened to find some genuinely great moments along the way. “lately I feel EVERYTHING” is a solid pop-punk album and part of me hopes that this is t the last time she explores this sound because she could easily make something that’s even better.