Catchy with commendable creativity
Grace Dodd
22:36 6th October 2022

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Pop-punk’s princess WILLOW has returned with a dazzling fifth studio album <COPING MECHANISM>. Leading the genre's revival alongside the likes of Machine Gun Kelly, Olivia Rodrigo and YUNGBLUD, WILLOW has impressed critics and fans alike with her previous LPs, having collaborated with the likes of PinkPantheress, Travis Barker and Kid Cudi and delivering past energetic hits like ‘Meet Me At Our Spot’ and ‘Wait A Minute!’. 

<COPING MECHANISM> is by far her greatest work to date. Vibrant, bold, experimental in all the right places and full of heart, WILLOW’s latest album proves her to be an incredible talent. Although the work may not be particularly ground-breaking, WILLOW does wonderfully balance emotive lyrics alongside punchy guitars and head-banging drums. <COPING MECHANISM> truly feels as though WILLOW is digging her heels in as a lasting star. 

There is a strong sense of urgency, of restlessness, in the album. Clocking in at just under an hour, it should feel like a complete mess, as the musician takes elements of metal, screamo, punk, pop and countless other genres to patchwork together a unique, sonically layered sound. It doesn’t. Not at all. There’s a maturity to the sound, despite the lyrics feeling like they have been torn out of an old diary. An album which would shine on tour, WILLOW truly delivers a dynamic, bouncy album with stylish ease. 

Knocking all doubts of the park with anthems like ‘BATHSHIT!’ and ‘Hover Like A GODESS’, WILLOW delivers a ferocious energy without the clutter, there is a perfect sense of ease and natural energy, despite everything clearly having been precisely, cleanly constructed. The album is by no means perfect, sprawling track ‘Falling Endlessly’ feeling a little clunky, with a slightly disjointed bridge. Despite certainly remaining full of heart and passion, there is a sense of resistance in the track, as though it’s dying to go somewhere and dissapointingly just… doesn’t. Tracks ‘No Control’ and ‘Split’ offer a softer side to the musician, anxious, gentle guitars, confident and sweeping vocals, the tracks even feel a little cinematic, building to wonderful climaxes. 

Track '<Coping Mechanism>' offers a highlight of the album. Demonstrating impressive and powerful vocals, this feels like a love letter to pop-punk. The inclusion of a guitar solo doesn’t seem quite justified in the short song, yet the track remains bold, brilliant, timeless. This track is an example of WILLOW at her best. Meanwhile, catchy, memorable tracks ‘<maybe> it’s my fault’ and ‘curious/furious’ continue to prove the young musician as a gifted vocalist, despite ‘<maybe> it’s my fault’ delivering overly repetitive lyrics. 

Catchy with commendable creativity, <COPING MECHANISM> holds the same rebellious, youthful energy WILLOW has always exuded. The musician seems to have forged her own place in the current landscape of music and will not be going anywhere, anytime soon.


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