A look back at R&B Soul star Jorja Smith’s EP ‘Be Right Back’

JMoney made a big return this year with her 8-track project ‘Be Right Back’ – a self-described sonic “waiting room” for fans to enjoy before her second album.

The EP is the first body of work Jorja Smith has blessed us with since her 2018 critically-acclaimed debut album ‘Lost & Found’, which won her a second Brit Award for ‘British Female Solo Artist’ and a Grammy nomination for ‘Best New Artist’. This first album certainly pushed the singer-songwriter to the forefront of today’s soul and R&B.

Following such a well-received debut is never easy, and Jorja Smith makes it clear that this isn’t a full-blown sequel to ‘Lost & Found’ but rather a perfect prelude towards her next chapter. “It’s called ‘Be Right Back’ because it’s just something I want my fans to have right now, this isn’t an album and these songs wouldn’t have made it. If I needed to make these songs, then someone needs to hear them too.”

Despite its status as a welcome back to fans, rather than a sophomore album, the EP suits as a stopgap for things to come as Jorja shows off her more emotional and experimental side. Released earlier this year, the opening track and lead single ‘Addicted’ was met by raving reviews. With its catchy, melancholic lyrics focusing on wanting the full attention of someone who’s not giving enough, the song exposes Jorja’s more vulnerable side:

The hardest thing/ You are not addicted to me/ I’m the only thing you should need. 

Next up is another early release ‘Gone’, a piano and electro-soul production with Smith reflecting on why people have to be taken from us so soon: “How could my world be much better off without you?”  Speaking on Gone, she says “being able to write about one thing and for it to mean so many different things to others… I love that”. The only feature that appears on Jorja’s EP is from South London’s rising rapper Shaybo on track 3 ‘Bussdown’. The reggae-tinged track introduces a more experimental bassline with both artists singing and rapping about their financial success and the downfall of others taking advantage of that success: “Order what you like, don’t have to pay her back … If I go broke today, will you stay or leave? On the release of Be Right Back, Jorja dropped the attitude-drenched music video for Bussdown where the duo are in a world where the male-female dynamics are reversed with Jorja representing a dishonest mechanic, check it out below: 

Nestled in the middle of Jorja’s EP, ‘Time, ‘Home’ and ‘Burn’ almost resembles a trilogy, with similar smooth rhythms, plucky guitar strings and calming vocals that allows us to sit back and reflect. It seemed promising from release that ‘Home’ could be the next track from the EP to feature a music video (which it did), as Jorja debuted the song on Later… with Jools Holland the evening of the EP’s release: 

Finishing strong is ‘Weekend’, a sexual track for Jorja to demonstrate her dreamy falsetto over the backing beats and somber piano chords; “Keep your money, it’s not only for the weekend / You keep me waitin‘ for a minute, I can take that / I was young enough to think that you would come back”.The song is carefully articulated with Jorja reiterating that money isn’t worth spending on temporary relationships or on wasted weekends.

If Be Right Back is a compilation of songs that didn’t make the cut, it looks like we’re going to be getting an almighty second album with some tracks suggesting promising new directions of genre-fluidity and experimentation. Here’s to the next chapter of JMoney! 

Words: Nicole Horwood

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