Life is a forever-winding path filled with crossroads and intersections. At times, navigating this journey is as easy as breathing and walking; decisions are made with help from destiny and subconscious thought, going unrecognized unless one requests it from the file cabinet of the mind. Other times, destiny takes a step back and leaves us in charge of commanding the journey. Even with the highest dose of wisdom present, questions of where to turn, when to stop, slow down, or speed up become far too dreadful to answer.
As we all had to do in some corner of our lives, Jorja Smith has been left to make these decisions and, as she unveils on her new EP Be Right Back, the choices before her are some that most would hate to choose from. On the lovelorn project, Jorja engages in a mental tug of war in the often unpredictable world of love and is left to decide what’s best for her: holding on in hopes of receiving better or letting go in fear of prolonging the bad before experiencing the worst.
Be Right Back is the English singer’s first project since her 2019 debut album, Lost & Found, an effort where she quite literally discovered herself. Songs that she wrote as a naive youth grew beside her with age and became tales of what once was, what is now, and what could be. The EP not only signals her return to music, as it’s her first project in over two years, foreshadows more to come for those who crave more from Jorja, just like that morning cup of Joe.
The scene is set as Be Right Back begins. The singer is knee-deep and tangled within the webs of unrequited love on “Addicted.” Jorja craves her lover like a caffeine addict does with their cup of coffee, but unlike that morning boost of energy that seeks nothing in return from its consumer, Jorja needs reciprocation from her companion. “The hardest thing / You are not addicted to me,” she croons with a voice filled with agony on the track. “I’m the only thing you should need / You should be addicted to me.” It’s at this moment that the unsettling crossroad presents itself.
The worst thing about these journeys is you’ll never know what’s next. No amount of astrology, prayer, or fortune-telling can give a play-by-play of the future that we’d all love to have. The gains and losses that come with each turn are vastly unpredictable. Taking one path can cause the extinction of another and sacrificing something else can spark the appearance of something new and better. So when Jorja deals with the pain of departure on “Gone” and “Weekend,” and inflicts some of the same on “Time,” it’s all with the hope that maybe one day she’ll make the right decisions to bring her towards the happy moment she desires.
For what it’s worth, Jorja can end a chapter in love if it proves to be necessary. After a whirlwind of doubts blur her perception and confidence towards a successful relationship on “Home,” Jorja opts to step away from it as her worries only seem to weigh her down. “Why can’t we leave it? Should’ve left it as just another chapter,” she ponders over the soft strums of an electric guitar. “It stays the same, will always remain with my heart in doubt.”
As a result, her bags are packed and she continues on her journey towards what’s next and what is hopefully better for her. Be Right Back sees her take a momentary break from the path she travels to document the scenery and events she experienced. It’s never the destination, but rather the journey, so timely pauses to take in what’s occurred are often necessary to avoid repeating mistakes and being lost — again — within it all.
Be Right Back is out now via FAMM. Get it here.