Album Review

Jorja Smith - Falling or flying

A record unafraid to run off in different directions.

Jorja Smith - Falling or flying

Jorja Smith’s debut album, ‘Lost & Found’, was so disarmingly accomplished that perhaps it’s no surprise that it’s taken this long for her to follow it up; she was probably left wondering where she could go next. That record showed, on the one hand, a deep understanding of her forebears, with Aaliyah and Erykah Badu both hanging heavy over it, and on the other, a keen sense of present-day R&B’s direction of travel. Since, she’s taken her time in crafting her comeback, but the sprawling, 17-track ‘Falling or flying’ provides compelling evidence that she made the right decision. This is thoughtful, nuanced R&B that demonstrates Jorja’s kaleidoscopic feel for her genre, incorporating everything from neo-soul on the brooding title track, to flirting with dancehall on ‘Feelings’, which features a stirring guest turn by J Hus - one of only two outside contributors on the record, along with Lila Iké, the reggae singer bringing a subtlety to the softly gospel-inflected ‘Greatest Gift’. For the most part, though, this is Jorja’s stage alone, whether she’s teasing the idea of reinventing herself as a troubadour when she coos over a lo-fi guitar line on ‘Too Many Times’ or revisiting her trip hop influences on the quietly massive ‘Backwards’. ‘Falling or flying’ is a record unafraid to run off in different directions - ‘GO GO GO’ is far and away the poppiest thing she’s ever put her name to, while closer ‘What if my heart beats faster?’ is a striking reminder of her vocal ability. But when she’s this adept at whatever she turns her hand to, why not showcase it?

Tags: Jorja Smith, Reviews, Album Reviews

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