Rising British artist Jorja Smith has released her first album Lost & Found, and as Impact’s very own MC, I think it’s only right that I review this album in terms of music, voice and lyrics. Signed by rapper Drake himself, Jorja Smith carries her own RnB soul music vibe, and I am SO very glad that she has released her album, and let me tell you why…
Firstly, the music.
Jorja uses a mix of soft, jazz downbeat sounds that create an uplifting and refreshing feeling. You’ll know exactly what I mean once you listen to ‘Blue Lights’, ‘February 3rd’ and ‘Lost & Found’ (which is my FAVOURITE song on the album at the moment). The best way I can describe this tranquilising sound, is a bit like echoes of a xylophone. She manipulates this sound throughout the album, and everything about it just makes you feel so relaxed, comforted and at peace. There are also mixes of old-school hip-hop beats, like in ‘Lifeboats (Freestyle)’ and ‘Where Did I Go?’.
Secondly, her songs.
When I first heard her album, I didn’t really appreciate how each song related with one another. Take The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, or Childish Gambino’s album Camp, these albums tell a story with each song. Jorja doesn’t do that, and I didn’t like the album initially for that reason. The only reason I liked this album was purely for the sound and vibe it gave off. But, listening to the album again, I realised that each song stands alone as its own personal experience or event, which makes each song special and unique in it’s own right—and I like that a lot. In ‘February 3rd’ we get the feel that she has evolved in character and personality, reflecting on how she has ‘been lost, and lost again’ but is constantly evolving to find herself.
A constant feeling of self-assurance and definition is reflected in every song. She explains how even if she has found the love of her life, she doesn’t want that to be a defining factor of her character in ‘The One’ and still wants that independent aspect of herself to be prominent. In ‘Teenage Fantasy’ she herself explained in an interview on BBC Radio 1 that she wrote that song in a time of her life where she had never experience any relationships, and expressed her fantasies of what a typical ‘romance’ would be like. She voices her feelings in such an elegant way, that everything about her music feels so raw and pure.
“We have a 20 year old woman being real with her emotions”
Jorja strays away from the typical heartbreak songs, and presents a different take on love. This is best shown in the track ‘Wandering Romance’ as she is left heartbroken, but chooses how vulnerable she will be from that, and questions how naive we should be ourselves in any relationship. Jorja even voices racial injustices and political concerns in ‘Blue Lights’ and in ‘Lifeboats (Freestyle)’. We have a 20 year old woman being real with her emotions, and with her character, and I think this reminds everyone in adulthood that every experience we have can only define us, and Jorja never fails to embrace how she paves her own destiny, and celebrates every aspect of her unique character.
“It’s all about our choices and how we use that to define ourselves”
Overall, I love this album simply because it is very different to what other RnB artists have out there. Jorja doesn’t focus on one theme of emotion for her album, but different perspectives on topics of love, the self, racial injustice etcetera. I think there’s a little bit of something in it for everyone: a bit of old-school, soul, jazz and RnB feels—I honestly can’t stop listening to it. Obviously we will never know an artist’s true take on any song, as it will always be a personal experience that only they can relate to, and I don’t think we should ever manipulate any artists’ songs to force some form of value upon us. But I DO think we can and should always reflect on what any artist speaks about. For Jorja, I think that can be questioning how vulnerable we make ourselves in life, love, and how involved we are in our own communities both globally and locally. It’s all about our choices and how we use that to define ourselves.
So, will you make the choice to listen to this album?
By Natasha Manohar
Featured Image Courtesy of Jorja Smith Official Facebook