tue 22/06/2021

Album: Jorja Smith - Be Right Back | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Jorja Smith - Be Right Back

Album: Jorja Smith - Be Right Back

Stop-gap mini-album from Walsall's neo-soulstress has slow-burning appeal

Shadowed by melancholy

With all eyes on her in 2018, Jorja Smith’s debut was surprisingly level-headed and mature, filled with the introspection and storytelling of someone twice her age. This new, slender eight-track project feels like a stepping stone in her career rather than a follow up to her acclaimed debut.

That being said, it’s a fine collection of songs which finds Jorja in a more world-weary and sombre head space than ever before.

The second single “Gone” is an example of Jorja’s evolving storytelling. Backdropped by an elegant beat by Rahki, it’s a song about loss which makes use of narrative positions in a fascinating way. Where Jorja’s storytelling on her breakthrough single “Blue Lights” was vivid and specific, on “Gone” it feels more poetic and opaque, hinting at a tragedy just out of view.

Jorja’s music has always felt weary, but this weariness feels almost tangible on “Burn”. “You let yourself burn, you burn yourself out,” she sings, her voice dragging ever so slightly on the last chorus, exasperated, aching. The fear of one day having to settle down is explored on “Home”: “Would I really be happy with my husband and his family?” she asks, sounding unconvinced. She then turns and rolls her eyes and as if to say it’s not that deep on “Time”, “I just want to have fun I don’t want to settle down with you”. On these tracks the instrumentals are stripped back and let her voice soar.

The only missteps are perhaps the final two songs, where the production expands and suddenly the edges are less defined and the words less sharp. On the closing track “Weekend” Jorja sings: “Keep your money, it’s not only for the weekend”, a metaphor as financial advice, or vice versa, which regardless falls flat.

Be Right Back is a relatively short project, but as the title suggests, there might be more from Jorja around the corner. For now though, these songs only serve to show that Jorja is fully coming into her own, although it’s arguable she has been for a while now. 

Below: watch the video for "Addicted" by Jorja Smith

It finds Jorja in a more world-weary and sombre head space than ever before

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Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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