WILLOW never intended to write a record about heartbreak, but who ever does?
It was just a year ago that WILLOW unleashed her album Lately I Feel Everything, a love letter to pop-punk. It featured the angsty, melodic breakout hit “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l” featuring Travis Barker, as well as “Grow,” her collaboration with Avril Lavigne – not to mention “emo girl” with Machine Gun Kelly.
WILLOW’s pop-punk influences and her love for emo music were clear on that record, which itself was a sonic leap for the musician, who already has a diverse aural catalog to her name — she’s come a long way from her debut single “Whip My Hair,” and her pivot to guitar music following her foray into R&B was exciting and daring.
It’s all perfectly paved the way for her latest studio-length effort, <COPINGMECHANISM> (out Friday, October 7th), which sees her push even further into her fondness of guitar music. This time, however, she sheds her skin once again, leaving her pop-punk inflections behind to embrace an even heavier guitar-based sound that leans into metal territory. <COPINGMECHANISM> is an album that has WILLOW well and truly becoming a bonafide rockstar, refusing to be boxed into one singular genre — while seeing how far each one can take her.
<COPINGMECHANISM> is WILLOW’s most personal — and, as may coincidence may have it, hardest — record to date. At its core, it is a hypersensitive and emotionally feral record about the spectrum of pain experienced in the aftermath of a breakup, with WILLOW dabbling with the push and pull of both her anger and hurt — and how she has to reckon with both in order to get closer to healing.
As she fully embraces hard rock and heavy metal, a catharsis pulses through the record. She yowls the angriest when delivering some of her most vulnerable lyrics. “I don’t wanna keep being alone, isolation got me going psycho/ I just stop need to stop questioning my life,” she screeches on “WHY?” just before a swirl of abrasive guitars. “The least you could do is find someone else,” she snarls above menacing, heavy riffs in the kiss-off anthem “ur a <stranger>.”