Today’s Song: Punk Meets Spirituality in Willow’s “Transparent Soul”

Willow © Dana Trippe
With “Transparent Soul,” Willow unleashes her pop-punk side while keeping a metaphysical edge.
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Listen: “Transparent Soul” – Willow




In her latest single, Willow becomes our new favorite emo-punk rocker. “Transparent Soul,” released on April 27, starts off with Blink-182’s Travis Barker banging away on the drums while an irresistible guitar riff kicks off the rest of the track. Then comes Willow — singing with defiance and goth eyeliner, razor-sharp lyricism combined with a smoky, neo-soul voice as powerful as it is emotive. The track whiffs of Paramore and her own mother’s nu-metal band Wicked Wisdom – but with her trademark spiritual sensibilities, “Transparent Soul” proves to be distinctively Willow, as she hurls pop-punk headfirst into the realm of the psyche.

Transparent Soul – Willow
I don’t fucking know if it’s a lie or it’s a fact
All your little fake friends will sell your secrets for some cash
Smile in my face, then put your cig’ out on my back
If you ever see me, just get to runnin’ like The Flash
I knew a boy just like you
He’s a snake, just like you
Such a fake, just like you
But I can see the truth
Transparent soul
I can see right through, just so you know
Transparent soul
I can see right through, just so you know

“Transparent Soul” comes at the heels of Willow’s 2020 collaborative album with Tyler Cole, THE ANXIETY, a genre-defying collection that screams and thumps, distortions abound. The project marked a drastic departure from her 2019 album Willow, which showcased a psychedelic, astral sound. Her first release in 2021, “Transparent Soul” somehow manages to hold space for both sonic aspirations: whispers of her trademark euphonic, dreamlike productions emerge in the bridge as ethereal vocals drift in the background. Meanwhile, a feverish drum pattern keeps the beat. The two energies come together in an infectious, anthemic tune capped under three minutes, and the track seems to define a genre more than it seeks to defy one.

Willow © 2021



In the chorus, Willow belts and rocks out, furious and unforgiving as she repeats the line “Transparent soul/I can see right through, just so you know.” Willow previously explained to Rolling Stone that the concept of the transparent soul is inspired by a quote from Radhanath Swami, a spiritual guru, about people with mirror-like souls who allow us to see into our own selves. In the music video, Willow comes face to face with an alien, human-like creature as an underground party rages on, as though she were confronted by her own higher self. The video ends on the creature’s and Willow’s hands outstretched toward each other, à la “The Creation of Adam.” Rebirth is in the air.

It’s clear to me now
You’re scared of me, wow
It’s clear to me now (transparent soul)
It’s clear to me now
You’re scared of me, wow
It’s clear to me now (transparent soul)

We’re heading into a wave of pop-punk revolution — from Machine Gun Kelly to Olivia Rodrigo. Amid this resurgence, Willow is covering a more experimental ground, where punk meets spirituality. While THE ANXIETY riots and Willow hallucinates, “Transparent Soul” unveils. At times, Willow’s music is so fine and delicate that it can take your breath away. Now, it feels like she’s ready to breathe life into something new.

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Listen: “Transparent Soul” – Willow



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