This month, I highly recommend giving Jorja Smith’s Lost & Found album a listen. The twenty-one year old English singer melds r&b soul with jazz influenced cadences, producing an emotionally charged backdrop for her stunning vocals. Throughout most of the album Smith’s lyrics explore her place in the world, contrasting ethereal vocal runs and syncopated rhythms with her lyrics, which confront real world topics from young love in “Teenage Fantasy” to police brutality in “Blue Lights”.
“Teenage Fantasy” features lyrics written by Smith’s sixteen-year old self reminiscing about young love. She questions in the chorus why “[we] want it when we can’t have it/ When we got it we don't seem to want it”. Her voice, fully unleashed with the lyrics, brings a new intensity to the song. This track addresses the disenchantment experienced in first relationships that so many other love songs refuse to tackle and is one of my favourites on the album.
“Lifeboats,” a much less publicized and recognized song on the album, was the most memorable for me after my first full listen through. Because it’s a much more technically simple song, many overlook it. The entire song is rapped, a noticeable change from her smoky singing on the other eleven songs, and is, furthermore, freestyled. Smith wonders throughout the song why we are so apathetic to those around us. She strips the album’s harmonically layered instrumentals down to their core, making the listener focus on the lyrics and the questions posed by the song. When we fall down, whether emotionally, financially, or socially, she asks “If there's a reason we can stay afloat/Why do we watch them drown?” In an incredibly simple song, she addresses class divisions, apathy, and how these contribute to our current societal state, which was especially impressive to me.
Lost & Found is an album that I’ve been listening to in many different scenarios, whether studying, driving, or just talking with friends. Jorja Smith has a steady, ethereal voice, and a very well developed sound, especially for her first album. The rhythm and instrumentals are complex enough to add depth to her striking lyrics and unique vocals. I hope that y’all give it a listen this month and enjoy it as much as I have.