Introducing ‘Rhyme nor Reason’ – a SONGLYRICS’ look at lyricists that make us want to jam a pencil in our brain. Or as a man named Shakespeare once wrote: ‘Was there ever any man thus beaten out of season/When in the why and the wherefore is neither rhyme nor reason?’
With the release of “Summer Fling” under the moniker Melodic Chaotic (a collaboration with DJ MVSIC Fabrega), 12-year-old Willow Smith has officially got her first taste of controversy. Not the juicy kind either, but the type that can deliver a damaging blow to a career. Yes, before even hitting her teens Willow is already staring down the barrel of a gun.
So where did she go wrong?
For starters the song itself is fraudulent, the sonic foundation of Madonna’s “Vogue” [LISTEN] – just simmered down a few dozen BPMs. Then there’s the cringe-worthy British accent, and the shoddy double-entendres. Add a half-baked video that’s shamelessly trying to rip-off Grimes‘ “Genesis” [LISTEN] and voilà – mediocrity. How Willow could have released this in good conscience is unfathomable.
In fairness, the initial reaction to the song being too risque is slightly unwarranted. She’s young, and yes, she’s going to be interested in sex. At that age who isn’t.
Now, is she whoring herself out? Absolutely not. All that can be taken from it is what the lyrics and video suggest, which is that Willow is maturing but her songwriting is not: [LISTEN]
To better understand her arrested development you have to go back to “Whip My Hair” – her debut single that went platinum both in the U.S. and Australia. It’s a monstrosity, an abomination to legitimate pop stars worldwide, veiled behind a pre-adolescent vision of what Smith contextualizes as not being “afraid to be yourself:” [LISTEN]
A forced coming-of-age, Baby Rihanna crunk beat courtesy of her father’s producer prodigy, Jukebox, that enables the idea that at nine you should have somehow figured it out – which is bizarre because the last thing the world needs is an empowered nine-year-old whose bankroll is larger than the majority of America’s – it’s as if someone threw a leprechaun into a washing machine and recorded the horrific outcome.
Meanwhile the amount of hype surrounding it was completely undeserved, and not to mention too heavy a burden for a young girl to carry all on her own. Chalk that up to the walking hype machine himself Jay-Z who in an act of sheer lunacy compared her to Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson. At an age when most kids have to be reminded to brush their teeth every night Willow Smith was expected to produce another “Fingertips” [lLISTEN] or “ABC” [LISTEN].
Now, just three short years later, Willow has already reached a crisis. She’s been the role model type (“21st Century Girl;” [LISTEN]), the uninhibited rock star (“Do It Like Me (Rockstar)” the awkward social outcast (“I Am Me“) and finally the unabashed rich kid (“Summer Fling“).
She’s rapidly going through the various stages of growth (physically, mentally and artistically), and she’s stuck trying to figure out how the hell it’s all going to fit on one album. It’s a problem because she cant very well expect to take a song like “Do It Like Me (Rockstar):” [LISTEN]
And have it stand up against “I Am Me:” [LISTEN]
The difference in perspective is vast and too broad a stroke for Willow to make sense out of much less grow into. It turns her into a walking contradiction.
Having explored these identities without actually committing to anything places her in creative purgatory. It renders her lyrics vague and meaningless. Even when she’s trying to be heartfelt like on “Sugar and Spice” she comes off as trite and over dramatic with one foot already out the door: [LISTEN]
Maybe It’s not too late for Smith, dropping out of Annie to focus on herself is the right move. The type of decision she’ll look back on and be proud she made whether she becomes a megastar in Hollywood like the rest of her family or just a regular old human being.
During this time she’ll perhaps discover that not everything is an epic party or a dramatic, end-of-world scenario. That media moguls and Hollywood premiers are transparent and often times devoid of substance. Maybe she’ll discover that prolific thoughts and emotions can be found in the everyday minutiae of life so long as that life is meaningful and chasing some sense of genuine purpose.