It’s been quite the couple of year for Jorja Smith, hasn’t it? There was something fresh in the sense of urgency of Blue Lights, one that she’s built upon since as one of our stronger proponents for R&B and soul.
So it’s a bit of a disappointment that her debut album Lost & Found comes as an over-produced introduction with nothing much to say. Worse still, it sands down the edges that made Jorja Smith such a name to be reckoned with, lumbering her with tired production that ends up being, well, boring.
Don’t get us wrong, all the elements are present and correct. The title track, while unremarkable, keeps Smith’s vocals powered enough to remind you why she is so celebrated; Teenage Fantasy, despite it’s ‘you were the topic of my lunchtimes’ dressing-down of fuckbois, is admirable enough an effort even if it doesn’t resonate in the slightest.
Of course, the presence of Blue Lights, Where Did I Go?, and the recently-released February 3rd serve only to highlight how dull the other song are. On Your Own, ironically enough, feels like it’s being sung in a distant echo chamber, and The One feels like it should work on paper but the connection between beats and voice just never fully materialises.
It’s a shame given that Jorja Smith is clearly a talent – you only need to hear her Lifeboats freestyle and Goodbyes to know that. The rest of it feels like a big Hollywood effort for an Oscar: the emotions are large, every aspect is painstakingly managed, but unfortunately it’s all so obvious that the effect Jorja Smith is aiming for gets lost along the way.