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Song Review: "T r a n s p a r e n t S o u l" by Willow ft. Travis Barker

Updated: Jan 6

Now, for never having heard Willow before this review and as someone who does not read up on new artists, I would not be opposed to checking out the rest of her discography and seeing what she’s all about. I would have never assumed that she is Will Smith’s daughter either; this girl truly has a unique style of her own worthy of admiration.

“Transparent Soul” immediately screams an early 2000s emo pop punk vibe, with a progression marked by stark percussion, a jamming bassline, and a stylistic guitar riff. The sound was all too nostalgic for me, who spent the early years of youth listening to a lot of Paramore and Fall Out Boy. Not to mention that Willow’s vocals sound practically identical to Hayley Williams.

Similar to Williams, Willow has a unique vocal range, which allows her to create a seamless contrast between her capacity for a full, belted sound with a more natural, softer tone. More specifically, while the verses give Willow a chance to put her energy straight forward, the bridge creates a soft landing for the

singer to fall back into a pillow of reverb. The supporting “ah”s and “oh”s lingering throughout the background, as well as the double harmony before the second chorus creates a wholesome, whimsical feeling; more musical elements which reminded me of Paramore and its counterparts. I also found the last chorus to be very impressionable, which combines a soft cry for attention with distant screaming and recognition.

Due to Willow’s characteristic sound and clever lyric play, I was prompted to explore the music video. Sometimes I prefer not to watch the music video, or at least not right off the bat, as an unprecedented visual often stands in the way of my ability to truly appreciate the music itself. But in this case, my suspicion of an early 2000s emo pop punk vibe was reassured.

I really like how a lot of modern artists are challenging their creativity by using an empty space to create visually captivating music videos, and Willow is no exception. Keeping with the early 2000s feel, the music video is jam packed with chaotic camera angels, overlapping shots, montages, and scratched portions of film. There is also an intentional fluctuation across the entire color wheel, though this choice does not feel overwhelming to the eye. On top of the appropriate use of color, a lot of the shots pose a bleached out feeling, with bright lighting and some shots overexposed. Overall, the music video demonstrates a punk montage, incorporating neat and sophisticated negative space.

Overall, “Transparent Soul” was a breath of fresh, early 2000s emo pop punk air.

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