Wonderland.

REVIEW: JORJA SMITH – BE RIGHT BACK

The singer-songwriter is on top form with her latest eight-track project, Be Right Back.

Jorja Smith Be Right Back
Jorja Smith Be Right Back

Who else is still bumping “Teenage Fantasy” on the weekly like it didn’t drop in 2018? It’s alright, we see you, and now, three years on, we raise you an entirely new selection of Jorja Smith crafted hits to chill-down to.

Before we get into it, let’s get one thing straight: Be Right Back is not an album. Perhaps too meaty to be an EP, and too interlude-less to be a mixtape, ‘project’ best befits Smith’s latest endeavour, an eight-track compilation of emotional turmoil and striking sensuality, but enough of the semantics, let’s dive into the tunes.

Smith kicks things off with her new offering with “Addicted”, a single we’ve come to know (and love) very well here at Wonderland HQ. Smooth, reverberating, broken drum beats set the pace of this harrowing slowburner, peppered with an occasional searing synth and Smith’s own husky drawl. The singer even filmed the accompanying video entirely on her Macbook, slipping into glitzy party dresses and Fifth Element-esque bodysuits as she contemplates all the many different sides to herself – even treating us to a firework display.

Next up is “Gone”, a classic piano ballad of the R&B variety, followed up by the sensual stylings of rising UK rapper Shaybo on “Bussdown”. Both tunes could easily end up on your sex playlist, but for very different reasons. “Gone” is chock-full of slow grooves, powerful cadences and twinkly passion for the tenderest and solemn of lovers. “Bussdown” however, opts for jazzy live instrumentation, with beats stirring and unfurling with the heart-racing sensation of sonic foreplay. We’re scoring it at around 1000/10 on the hip-rolling-look-back-at-it scale, if you catch our drift…

“Time”, “Home” and “Burn: feel like sister songs, a serene triplet that offers a chance for us to regain composure and sink into a bean bag of smooth rhythms, plucky guitars, and even smoother vocals. Things soon turn murkier once “Digging” shimmers into the spotlight, with quickening synthetic gallops into a wholly more sinister territory of starlit skies and shouty chorus lines. It’s the Wild Wild West meets strung-out dream pop, simultaneously fast, slow, and pretty sexy too.

After such a journey, Smith ends on the most cinematic offering of the bunch, her vocals soft and painful. It’s the type of track that’ll splice your heartstrings into millions of tiny pieces if given the chance, indulging in the personal, intimate underbelly of love. Dipping love in between fast and slow delivery like an UberEats driver in a thunderstorm, “Weekend” goes deeper than being happy or sad. It’s real, capturing feelings that are fleeting and everchanging. And, if you couldn’t tell, it’s our favourite too.

It suffices to say Smith might’ve put a few therapists out of business with such a flurry of emotion. We mean, who else is making the sad and sexy side of emotional catharsis sound so good? 8/10.

Words
Bailey Slater
REVIEW: JORJA SMITH – BE RIGHT BACK

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