Willow Smith has released her first new collection of music since 2015’s Ardipithecus, fittingly titled The 1st. The 11-track album is a revealing look at the inner life of the teenage daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith and as it turns out, she’s a pretty normal, awkward teenager.
Well, the sort of normal, awkward teen who wouldn’t be out of place at a poetry reading in an out-of-the-way campus coffee shop. Picture Laney Boggs from She’s All That. The songs here are poetic and folksy, with lots of acoustic guitars and smart lyrics featuring Willow’s observations about life and love. “Boy” addresses that first teenage love and compares it to “torment.” “And Contentment” is her rumination on how the tendency of humans to compare ourselves to each other and how it doesn’t help anybody. “Warm Honey” is a bluesy standout with a swinging backbeat that sees Smith showing off her full vocal range while contemplating the universe through her third eye.
Smith joins a number of artists who decided to drop surprise releases last night; Offset, 21 Savage, and Metro Boomin released collaborative project Without Warning while Cyhi The Prynce unleashed a new Kanye West verse on the world with “Dat Side.”