2018 EPs/Albums

Jorja Smith – Lost & Found (Review)

The 21-year-old from Walsall is on her way to a global status. Having already collaborated with artists such as Drake, Stormzy and Kendrick Lamar, her debut album contains her best work yet in my eyes and showcases her originality. Released back in June of this year and lasting only 45 minutes, this R&B album is filled with all the great aspects you’d want in one. The album took 2 years to record with Jorja co-writing most of the songs with other artists. She’s only 21 and is completely extraordinary, and I’m sure she’ll be like a fine red wine, which gets even better with age.

“Lost & Found” is the song that made me fall in love with Jorja’s music. The production on the track begins with a wave of clarity, before we hear “yeah like that, sounds cool” from Jorja. With her common accent, it makes the song more real. Angelic vocals suits the atmosphere, grooving into an effective beat cementing that this album has successfully landed. A subtle key change takes us into the actual song making the introduction that extra special. Jorja wrote this when she was only 15. She wrote it as she felt a bit lost when she went to London for the first few times, but she found herself while she was there and adapted to her surroundings. Hearing the maturity of her voice blending in with the soulful, chilled vibes of the song puts the cherry on top of a beautifully, crafted track.

Introducing the next song, we hear humming, which we don’t really think much of it. It wasn’t until I did a bit of research on “Teenage Fantasy” and found out that the recording of the so-called humming was actually recorded by Jorja while she was babysitting at 16. Finding out this fact makes the song a whole lot clearer to the so-what nature of some teenagers and it definitely brings back some nostalgic memories from my teen days. The first two lines of the song deals with the story of “you weren’t the person I thought you were,” we all know someone in our lives who turned out to be the complete opposite of what we thought. Teenage Fantasy hits the nail on the head completely. When we’re young, we want to be in love and feel that we’d only be happy if we were in a relationship. I can say this, as I did the exact thing. As time passes by, you realise that you have to love and accept yourself before you can love someone else and the way that Jorja portrays this message is mesmerizing.

Confronting and having the courage to say goodbye to someone takes some guts, especially when they meant/mean a lot to you. The story of “Where Did I Go?” explains exactly that. The production on this track is slightly more upbeat from the percussion being so prominent, and it makes sense as this track was produced by Sam Wills whereas the first two tracks were done by Charlie Perry. As much as this is a good track, I feel the melody is a bit predictable and not as thought out as the first two tracks. The subjects behind the song is effective though.

“February 3rd” is a lot more mellow than any track so far, making it a whole new direction for the album. “There’s a life outside I didn’t know” means that Jorja is now at an age where she is seeing things differently, and a lot more real. When we’re young, we hardly have any fears and see things in a completely different light, and it’s when we get older that we realise that we were in this little safe haven through our younger years. After the first lyric, the song changes into another relationship scenario. This travel showcases that Jorja feels that the guy is playing games and isn’t taking the relationship seriously. After all, a relationship is for both sides, not one-sided at all.

Finally, Jorja has left the boy in “On Your Own” who’s been giving her grief and he’s on HIS own now. Jorja has essences in her voice that sound like Sia, especially when she sings “on your own tonight.” I find Jorja as a lazy, slurry singer in this track, which is a complete positive. It gives her voice that attitude the song needs. The song doesn’t really award her range as such, it shows off her tone and control though. While she gets quite personal in this, the smooth beats make the song dynamically work. I would like this song to build a bit further though, it feels like it’s craving a stronger arrangement.

Well, you guessed it, “The One” is another song about a boy. As much as the songs are really great, they’re getting a bit repetitive with the subjects. The song deals with Jorja looking back on her past relationships that have failed and how she hopes she doesn’t become dependant on a person again. I do really like however that Jorja features “Choosers, Takers and Begging Heartbreakers” in the lyrics. Choosers are people who simply choose to love without a thought. Takers are people who know exactly what they want, but don’t feel the need to show it back. Begging Heartbreakers are people who simply beg to have someone in their life, just to throw it back in their faces and hurt them.

Moody, melancholiness are highlighted through “Wandering Romance” which suits the subject of an unstable relationship. It feels like the big ballad on the album, but at the same time, it still makes you want to dance. Usually the audience just want to watch and listen to ballad’s, but you can tell this song will also be a hit for our inner dancers at Jorja’s live shows. Saying that, I feel this may be the weakest track on the album purely because it doesn’t personally take me anywhere. I don’t feel anything emotional with it. Plus the constant background voice that sings “bruh” is quite annoying.

Arguably Jorja’s biggest track to date, as in popularity, “Blue Lights” has a big arrangement and warm production. The song questions why people should feel guilty about something if they haven’t actually done anything wrong. “Don’t you run when you hear the sirens coming, when you hear the sirens coming” is a fitting lean towards Dizzee Rascals “Sirens” and later in the song, it actually features a sample of the song. The song has a big message with people quoting that it was written for her friend who had a knife in their bag. We don’t know exactly what the song was written about and that makes it a whole lot more interesting. It gels the facts together that it can be about anything you want it o be, making it a lot more personal. Blue lights could link towards police cares as well. The song isn’t innocent, it’s in your face, dark and serious. The song was released two years prior to the album, so no wonder it’s so big.

“Lifeboats (Freestyle) was written with Tom Misch (which you can instantly recognise by the jazz-like chords.) The track explains how people drown in their own thoughts and difficulties in life. Whereas Lifeboats are the imagery to how we escape, but if we put that into our life’s perspective, what is a lifeboat a metaphor towards? Our close ones? Music? Who knows, we never really find out, leaving it unfinished and allowing us as the audience to get more personal to reflect the song in our own lives. The song is also linked to Kanye West’s track “All Falls Down” which channels the same context as Jorja’s… we now know where this song was inspired from. It also links to the title track Lost & Found with the first lyric being “Why do we all fall down?” I love the charisma of Jorja’s common Walsall accent in this track. It makes it more human and intimate. 

The next track is an acoustic, sad song. Jorja sings to someone who she’s lost that she’s in pain and simply misses them. “Goodbyes” are one of the hardest things any human being has to do. The song is emotional and makes me think of the people I’ve lost in my life and really does hit close to home. There’s a lot of R&B singers who have tried writing songs in this similar structure which musically works, but their versions haven’t been as emotional as this. In Jorja’s case, she didn’t actually lose anyone, but her friend did. She wrote the song in her shoes and really emphasises the way her friend felt. Sometimes we never get chance to say goodbye to someone and show them in their last moments how much they meant to us, that’s why you should always show someone you love, that you love them. I’m getting all cheesy now, but there’s no other way to say it really. 

“Tomorrow” is like a sequel to Goodbyes. Wishing that all things will make sense tomorrow is like pushing your dilemmas to the next day because you don’t want to sort them out there and then. A lot of the tracks on the album are either mid-beat or downbeat, this song is slow and doesn’t really escalate in any way. Vocally, Jorja’s voice is heavenly and you can hear her imperfections which makes it a whole lot more honest, but as a whole arrangement, it doesn’t really work for me. Same goes for the last song on the album “Don’t Watch Me Cry.” It’s still keeping that mellow momentum going strong. The song features emotions that are heard while being left in a relationship. Jorja strives her emotion of past relationships and her love life throughout the whole of her album, but she doesn’t dwell on it say as much as, lets say, Adele does. Adele makes her songs sad to pursue her emotion that little bit more across. Whereas with Jorja she makes it more aware that it’s ok to be upset when broken-hearted and that everything will be alright in the end. 

Concluding the album, it’s strong and really proves that love is such an important emotion.

Favourite Tracks: Lost & Found, Teenage Fantasy, Where Did I Go? February 3rd, On Your Own, Blue Lights, Lifeboats (Freestyle), Goodbyes

Score: 8/10

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s