Breaking Hearts + Breaking The Mold : How JUICE WRLD's "Goodbye and Good Riddance" puts him in another class of music
Written by Waylon O'Day
Goodbye and Good Riddance, the first album from 20-year-old Jarod Higgins, better known as Juice WRLD comes after bursting onto the scene behind two solid single releases. The album shows Juice struggling with both relationship and substance abuse issues in an extremely personal way. The album is accessible in ways that none of his contemporaries in emo rap before him have been able to achieve, but it doesn’t always result in a solid track.
The first proper song on the album, and first single “All Girls Are the Same,” is achingly catchy, and features some impressive wordplay like “I’m a jealous boy, really feel like John Lennon.” The second single leading up to the album’s release, “Lucid Dreams,” follows and features a Sting sample that works surprisingly well, considering the booming 808’s that dominate the mix. One of the better tracks on this project, Juice’s emotions are under control here (for the most part) instead of leaning towards the melodramatic.
“Lean Wit Me,” the third and final single is a solid track, but also really concerning and at times cringe-worthy lyrics wise, however, a few moments make this track (“Ring, ring, plug hit my phone, perfect timing”). “I’m Still” is the embodiment of Xanax-induced adolescent angst, and that’s not necessarily a terrible thing. The emotional subtext of Juice’s lyrics contrasts noticeably from verse to verse, which explains adolescent angst perfectly in a lot of ways.
“Candles” continues the theme of dysfunctional relationships with both love and drugs, while the lyrics are extremely morose, the production backing Juice makes his issues sound euphoric, in a melancholic way. Sampling “So High,” by Ghost Loft, which Wiz Khalifa used for a song of the same name, “Scared of Love” continues the motif of being heartbroken and wallowing in self-pity. “Used To,” is probably the best song on this album that wasn’t previously released as a single, in large part due to a very catchy, albeit lyrical simplistic, chorus and verse duo.
Whereas “Candles” sounded euphoric when addressing drug abuse and love problems, “Hurt Me” is downright haunting, as Juice sounds like he’s at an emotional bottom of sorts. Cashmere Cat of all people contributed to the production on “Black & White,” which on the surface sounds like a carefree track, is quite depressing as Juice talks about mixing pills with liquor, but he seems to be defiant towards those who think he should slow down, cause he’s “a party animal at the zoo.”
“Long Gone” is one of the more solid tracks in the way that it can make something like a break-up sound desirable, but there’s still a sort of uncomfortable ease in lyrics where Juice seems happiest like “I think I found my future wife,” when next to lyrics like “I hope her love doesn’t go away.” “End of the Road” is probably the weakest track on the project, mostly because of Juice’s lackluster lyricism and delivery, which on other tracks isn’t exactly spectacular, but on this one is particularly noticeable. “I’ll Be Fine” is a track that ends this otherwise sad project on a bright note, however when Juice says, “I’ll be fine,” it seems like he knows he’s lying and that he’s just saying that to satisfy those around him, whether that’s is mom or friends.
The debut album from Juice WRLD is a strong showing from an artist who seemed to pop up in a nano-second. However, there seems to be some sort of cognitive dissonance between Juice’s lyrics as he’ll go from bar-to-bar saying he wants to die to he wants to live, which can just be written off as adolescent angst in a lot of cases. The most crucial parts of this album, in terms of making it a solid project, are its clean production, catchy, simple lyrics and a child-like sing-song delivery. For most artists, this would be a criticism, but in this context, it means a lot. Emo rap isn’t exactly a mainstream genre, but with efforts like this from young talented artists like this? It isn’t unimaginable to see this sort of sound leak into the mainstream culture.
Listen to the project below