MSFTS Music and Roc Nation · October 7, 2022
On her new album <COPINGMECHANISM>, Willow releases her inhibitions and her screams. With help from co-producers Chris Riati and Yves Tumor, Willow perfects her new sound on the punk-rock project. Filled with shoegaze-y guitar and angry vocals, this album is great for people who need to SCREAM. If you expect to hear Willow’s dreamy, psychedelic alternative R&B-era, this album was not made for you. Although it’s different from her other projects, this album helps fans understand that Willow is an unpredictable force. She fills every track on the album with anger and resentment towards herself and past partners. <COPINGMECHANISM> was released two weeks after its promised date, leaving a lot of fans impatient to hear her new project. She’s been hinting at a punk album since the release of lately, I feel EVERYTHING, and it looks like she’s not going back to her dreamy melodies anytime soon. Willow has described her new album as a way for her to “express dark emotions to get towards the light.” Although she typically stays in the realm of pop, she has claimed in an interview that she wanted the album to be rock at its core and surface.
Willow bounces between crooning melodies and deafening screams throughout <COPINGMECHANISM>, mostly singing about internal and external feelings of blame. Kicking off the project with “<maybe> it’s my fault,” she introduces the listener to her inner dialogue — she needs to self-reflect when she reminisces about her ex-partners, because it might be her fault. Willow carries this narrative throughout the project, switching between singing about hating herself and hating her partner for leaving her. Raging pain is expressed through screeching vocals in the song “Perfectly Not Close to Me” with co-producer Yves Tumor. She stumbles through songs, often hating both her partner and herself for letting them hurt her. In heartbreak, she feels lost. She sings, “I’m stuck to the ceiling, barely feeling – all my control is gone.” With loss comes loneliness. In “curious/furious,” she sings about “Walking through a darkened forest, goin’ home / I feel alone.” Willow’s range and chameleonic artistry is revealed throughout <COPINGMECHANISM>, while still managing to sound mature in her angsty vocals and lyrics. The album might not be for everyone, but Willow executed the album in a tragically beautiful manner. <COPINGMECHANISM> tells a story of catharsis: Willow is not afraid to show people she’s growing and changing. This album can help people who struggle with the same rage and loneliness find comfort that Willow is just like them, dealing with the same emotions. Hopefully, fans that follow her career can experience the darkness in this new album and find light in her future projects.