Why is the shortest track always the sweetest? Under two minutes long, Hora, en Jorja Smith’s eight-track Be Right Back, is a tender arrangement of vulnerable vocals over acoustic guitar. “I’m not here to hug you, I’m just for the night,” she howls.
Smith’s 2018 debut album, Lost & Found, was a coming-of-age tale of self-discovery. Not much has changed since then: the same themes of disorientation that appeared in songs such as Blue Lights emerge here in Addicted and Burn: “You tried so hard. Don’t you know you’re burnt out?” This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just means that Be Right Back lacks some suspense. Smith doesn’t owe anyone fresh narratives, but as her muse Amy Winehouse candidly showed us with Franco y Back to Black, your perspective on life and love can shapeshift in just three years – enough to make you sound like a different artist.
Admittedly, these are songs that didn’t make the cut for Smith’s next full-length album, due out in 2022. Todavía, Digging’s angsty 80s pop rock energy and Bussdown’s (featuring rapper Shaybo) subtle dancehall beat are nice enough to rewind, proving that this is more than just an ephemeral work.