Willow Smith. You may know her from her celebrity parents, Jada and Will Smith, and her older brother, Jaden Smith, who has also made a name for himself in the music and acting industry. Despite growing up with such famous parents, Willow has shown that she has a unique and exceptional talent of her own.
Many recognize Willow from her first single, “Whip My Hair,” which went platinum in the U.S. and peaked at number 11. However, this song greatly differs from the music on her next album, ARDIPITHECUS, which was released in December of 2015. Willow said the inspiration ARDIPITHECUS name and meaning was Ardipithecus Ramidus Sahelanthropus tchadensis, the scientific name of the first hominid bones found on earth. Willow named her creative compilation after it because, while she was making these songs she was in a monumental and transitional stage. Digging deep into the soil of her heart and finding bits and pieces of her ancient self, led to the stories which would become beautiful and unique lyrics. Willow’s explanation of her own album begins to make sense when listening to the lyrics of her songs. Though the lyrics may originally seem a tad unusual to the listener, they serve a greater purpose in context to the deeper meaning of the album.
The album is characterized by soft sounds, which create a comfortable and warm environment for the listener. By utilizing these sounds, Willow invites her listeners to analyze her lyrics, and her own psyche. The continuous and calming rhythm, paired with the stunning vocals of Willow, gives the album a welcoming, yet receptive feeling.
For starters, this album will be one of the most unique and individualized collections of music the listener will ever hear. Each song undertakes a different meaning, all while interpreting the origin of the universe, extraterrestrial beings, and socioeconomic issues our Earth faces.
She begins the album with the song “Organization & Classification” which to to the naked eye, sounds like a collection of random words compressed into a song with a familiar and entertaining beat. Yet, if you listen closely to each individual line, it tackles the idea of classification among races and ethnicities, and segregation of humans overall. She begins the song by saying
Classification and organization is ruining the minds of our generation
which quickly gives the listener an idea of what the song is about. As the song progresses, it becomes more difficult to interpret, as many of the lyrics go on what appears as tangents. She also begins to reference what many interpret as extraterrestrial beings, saying
That’s why they’re always staying up in the sky
I see those lights, I see their eyes
Staring back at me, telling me about the symmetry
Telling me about atomic structure
which provide a deeper meaning of classification and using evidence of a higher power to justify our existence.
One of the most popular songs from the album, “Marceline,”proves to be more confusing and deep than any other songs on the album. The main character in this song, Marceline, is actually an ode to Marceline the Vampire Queen, a character from the show Adventure Time. She is often portrayed as an angsty teen with authority issues, who opposes her evil father to hang out with the heroes, Jake the Dog and Finn the Human. Willow’s attraction to this character makes sense, because they are both free spirited and laid back. Willow tackles the idea of war and oppression in this song by saying
Guns and wars won’t stop the fights, Not inside your mind,
which may be one of the only lyrics which explicitly portrays the meaning of the song. Extraterrestrial forces are also mentioned in this song, mentioning the planet Nibiru, which is a theoretical twelfth planet in our solar system. It is believed to be the home of the Annunaki, ancient Mesopotamian deities. Although the base for this song may seem childish, it explains mature issues our world faces today.
Although many of Willows lyrics are challenging to understand, they all serve a purpose to the moral of the album. With deep thought and interpretation, the words in each song create wonder within the brain. Without an interest in cosmic and extraterrestrial analogies, this album may seem eccentric and just simply weird. To understand the full meaning of the album, the listener must take time to listen to every song and their lyrics with an open mind. Overall, ARDIPITHECUS is a beautiful collection of music because of its uniqueness.
Review by Adlyn Larsen