Born Jarad Higgins, arguably the biggest breakout artist of 2018, Juice Wrld’s debut album “Goodbye and Good Riddance” has peaked on charts all across the world. Higgins hails from Chicago and was “discovered” by a Internet Money Records and it’s co-owner Nick Mira. Mira and Juice collaborated on most of the songs on the debut album including “Lucid Dreams,” which from its release on March 23rd of this year has already received a triple platinum certification in Canada, double platinum in Australia, and platinum in both New Zealand and Sweden. Juice also is one of the most unique artists in the genre of rap as a whole because not only is his music exceptional, but also because he freestyles the majority of the songs that he records, a skill that takes years, if not a lifetime to master. If you don’t believe me, check out his freestyle on Tim Westwood’s YouTube channel where Juice freestyles for over an hour with lyrics with the same caliber as some songs on this album.
“I still see your shadows in my room, can’t take back the love that I gave you, it’s to the point where I love and I hate you, but I cannot change you, so I must replace you.”
The almost depressing, yet catchy chorus of Juice Wrld’s “Lucid Dreams” is quite possibly one of the most recognizable lyrics for high schoolers this year. “Goodbye and Good Riddance” is still at number 8 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums as of October 8 after spending 19 weeks on the chart with a peak position of 4. With the recent passings of rappers Lil Peep and XXXTENTACION, the genre of emo rap has blew up with Juice Wrld as it’s pioneer. Higgins actually made 2 songs in tribute to these two rappers with tracks titled “Legends” and “Rich and Blind” to speak about the topic of how would be legends die young. The album depicts the artist’s bad breakup with his ex-girlfriend and gives and inside look to his personal life and use of drugs to cope.
The first track titled “Intro” is a skit of a woman, who is supposed to be playing the artist’s ex, yelling at Higgins over the phone, ordering him to stop calling her while also cursing at and insulting him. Although introductions and skits are mostly skipped over or not downloaded/ bought by listeners, the skit sets the somber tone for the album and is a interesting way to give the audience an insight to Juice’s take on the breakup.
The first actual song of the album is titled “All Girls Are The Same.” The song seemingly found fame from memes on social media apps like iFunny and Instagram before becoming one of the most popular songs on the album. With a catchy hook and beat that utilizes a harp for it’s main chord pattern, the song definitely captures the attention of audiences right off the bat.
The next track titled “Lean Wit Me” is recognizable for its use of the electric guitar in the beat and for lyrics that put into proportions the issues that Higgins faces concerning narcotics.
“Wasted,” the fifth track of the album features popular mumble rapper Lil Uzi Vert, who is well known for his song “Money Longer” and feature on “Bad and Boujee” with the rap trio Migos. Lil Uzi Vert, or Symere Woods, is another big influencer in the genre of emo rap and serves as a mentor and friend of Higgins. The track exhibits the punk rock and metal side of emo rap that combine to make a unique sound of its own. “Wasted” is one of my personal favorites not only because I am a fan of Symere Woods, but also because the song doesn’t sound like a traditional rap or trap song, you can only really describe it as a pop song with emo rap lyrics and a trap beat, but Woods’ verse is fully metal with autotune/ distortion of the vocals. Overall, in my opinion, this is one of the best songs in the album and one of the most unique tracks in the music industry that is out now.
The next song is “I’m Still” which is sort of a drastic change in tone from all of the songs before it. The song starts out with an acoustic guitar, but is quickly greeted by an 808 bass and classic trap style percussion. The artist’s tone changes from sounding almost depressed about the breakup to becoming angry at his ex by seemingly spitting lyrics with passion and pain during it’s recording.
The seventh track is another skit called “Betrayal” where a woman plays Higgins’ ex-girlfriend and answers another phone call from him and says “Hello? Oh my God. I know this ain’t you callin’ me again,” before she goes off on a Higgins for a second time bragging to him about a new guy that she met and is supposedly in love with while he is still coping. The track’s title gives a clear indication about how Juice portrayed her actions as her betraying him even though they were already split, and really seems to exaggerate the artist’s side of the story.
The eighth track of the album is “Candles.” This is my personal favorite song of the album by far. The upbeat trap song seems to represent Juice realizing that his last relationship wasn’t healthy for him with lyrics like the following from the chorus: “I’m not sure, I don’t know if its because by heart hurts or if I’m insecure. Baby you’re not her. My last girl had me so f****d up it was a blacked out blur.” This song seems to be representative of a conversation between Juice and a new female interest of his, explaining how his last relationship left him in shambles with new trust issues making it hard for him to start anew with someone else. The song as a whole has a chord progression that sounds like it is from outer space along with an ambient choir sound near the end of the loop of the chords while also using a riser effect multiple times to signal a progression in the bridge of the song. The beat then contains a powerful compressed 808 bass and a multitude of high hat rolls and other crazy procussion to give the song an overall bounce that you can’t resist.
The ninth song of the album has ironically, the most somber feel to it with a very slow beat and auto tuned vocals that are almost compressed and showcase the rapper’s gritty voice. The song titled “Scared of Love” is my second favorite on the album because it has so much emotion that you can feel through the vocals and lyrics with lines like “I never been scared of love, scared to love,” “I’m not enough, not enough,” “Not scared to love, just scared of love”, and “I tell you that I don’t care, really I do care, I hope that you care.” The song is a beautiful love ballad to Juice’s ex where the audience can clearly see him go back into a state of deep depression through his self expression.
The tenth song is a polar opposite to the previous “Scared of Love,” and is titled “Used To.” This song is an upbeat trap song with a electric guitar chord progression and just like his other songs, a strong 808 bass, kick, and high hats layered with snares. The lyrics from this track consist of Juice claiming that he is getting better, moving on from his once depressed mental state, yet still admitting to his wrongs from his last relationship while also pointing out his ex’s misconceptions of him. Overall, the song can be described as a slower, more mellow, and yet somehow more upbeat version of “Lean Wit Me,” while still having almost opposite messages in their lyrics.
“Karma” is the eleventh track in the album and is the third and final skit of the album. It again is a phone call with a female actress who claims that her rebound from Juice meant nothing to her. She also points out that Juice was just calling her when she was telling him to stop and acting like he should be glad to receive a call from her now. At this point, Higgins seems to have moved on and wants little to nothing to do with his ex.
The twelfth track of the album is titled “Hurt Me.” The song is another ambient trap beat and lyrics that sound vengeful and angry towards all of the women that have caused Juice pain. The artist also claims in the song that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but the drugs won’t hurt me,” implying that drugs are better for his health then the women that he has surrounded himself with have been to him.
The next track is titled “Black and White.” This song is again another upbeat trap song with a piano chord progression, but is profane when in comes to lyrics. Almost every single line in the song has some sort of relation to drugs or alcohol, which is the only downside I see in listening to this album. This album speaks on drug use a lot almost prasing narcotics in some songs which is a common downside to the genre of rap nowadays. I wouldn’t recommend this song for younger audiences who are more prone to peer pressure or who are more likely to make poor choices because of this, but other than that, I think that the song is great to listen to in the car or with friends to lighten the mood or as a hype song for some too.
The fourteenth song of the album is “Long Gone.” Long Gone is another one of my personal favorites with a soft, bell chord progression that resembles a steel drum with another compressed 808 bass and heavy use of high hats, kicks and snares for procussion. “Leave her in the past, but I know I’ll miss her,” Higgins expresses himself through his lyrics heavily in this song and explains the situation in more depth than probably any other song in the album (other than “Scared of Love”). Lyrics like “listen to my story it’s depressing, heartbreak mixed with the drugs, not the best thing,” and “you really took my love for granted, you really had me feeling helpless, that so selfish,” really capture the artist’s pain and struggles as he pieces his life back together after it was torn apart.
“End of the Road” is the fifteenth song of the album and is another emotional piece. Juice seems to go back to his depressed state of mind and speaks on suicide and drug use in another dark turn in the mood of the album.
The final song of the album is “I’ll Be Fine.” In my opinion this is the 3rd best song of the album behind Candles and Scared of Love. The instrumental of this song contains what sounds like a synth bell used for the chords and the classic compressed 808, hi hats, snares, and kick that the other songs also contain. The main focus of this song is to ensure Juice’s audience that he will, ‘be fine,’ just as the title entails. The lyrics are similar to all of his other songs as most of the songs in the album are of the same style. This song appeals to me because I find the chorus of the song to be very catchy although containing some pretty obscene lyrics.
Overall I would give this album a 8.5/10. I say this because I don’t believe that there is a bad song on the album, but the messages aren’t the best for younger audiences and the songs on the album can kind of get repetitive. All of the songs have their own appeals to different people, which is why my preferences could vary quite a lot from your’s or someone else’s, but I would say that there is at least one song on the album that anyone could appeal to or relate to as a lot of the feelings that are spoken about in the album are common among just about anyone today ranging from heartbreak, to depression, to a level of high self-esteem and pride.