It’s been over seven years since Willow Smith, daughter of power couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, last whipped her hair. Coming in and out of the spotlight since her 2015 album ARDIPITHECUS, along with recently performing at the Tidal X Charity concert in Brooklyn, the youngest Smith member seemed to be tired of being seen as just that — another name in her illustrious family. Aching to set herself apart and working to portray a more mature image than she did with her first release at age nine, she delivers more than expected with her sophomoric album, The 1st, released on Oct. 30 via Rest assured, this isn’t the same girl, and artist, we were introduced to all those years ago.
Trading heavy bass and highly manufactured dance-pop for violins and raw vocals on The 1st, Willow proves that she’s capable of so much more than simple pop radio airplay. In “Israel,” she mirrors the sounds of a looming summer night backed by an electric guitar that’s repeating the same two chords over and over again. Her lyrics fit a inscrutable and ethereal aesthetic, singing out,
Your eyes like caramel in the sky/ Dripping down my moon/ Your smile like the wind/ I only met you once/ But how do I begin?
She sounds in love but lovelorn, making confusion and pain feel so beautiful. It’s slightly unclear whether the track’s title is a literal reference to the place, or if it’s simply personified or not, but the mystery behind it makes the song that much more harrowing.
Listen to The 1st in full below.