Album Review- Goodbye & Good Riddance
By: Ethan Darnall
Still a crowd favorite to this day, despite multiple hit singles along with consistently impressive album releases, both pre and post-mortem, Juice WRLD’s Goodbye & Good Riddance will forever be a time capsule of his musical and lyrical roots. Goodbye & Good Riddance was Juice’s first major-label debut, as well as his claim to fame selling over a million units and being certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). This album’s success can be attributed to Juice’s raw emotion of the pain of heartbreak along with him struggling from drug addiction. Combining his vocal talent and emo-rap style with his innate ability to rhyme and weighty words really creates a powerful message.
*Note, this isn’t a ranking, just a careful analysis and impression of each song in order as the album stands.
Intro is more of a window into the harsh words of a toxic breakup than an actual song or introduction to the album itself. Not once does Juice’s voice appear on Intro. Simply put, Intro is a journey inside the mind of Juice and how ruthless words said in anger stick with him and echo throughout his mind. Backed by a sad violin instrumental are lyrics with heavy echo and reverb of an unknown woman repetitively saying emotionally damaging phrases such as “I said I hate you, stop calling me.” “You not gon’ be s**t, I promise you.”
“All Girls Are the Same”
Accompanied by what appears to sound like a xylophone in a minor tone and a simple 808 pattern with drum hi-hats, Juice makes his first lyrical appearance. All Girls Are the Same is a progressive story of him admitting to being broken up and it getting him down, to him turning to drugs and alcohol and going out with different girls to numb his pain and sorrow, but coming to the almost psychotic and psychosis conclusion that all girls are the same and alluding to the idea that he is in an endless loop of sorrow, pain and disappointment.
Lucid Dreams feels like his first step towards not only understanding everything, but expressing true feelings behind what situation he is in now. He uses heavy contrast and his talented rhyming skills to describe not only a more coherent and level headed reflection overall, but also the realization that he isn’t the demon that she told him he is. He still gives this verge-of-insanity, hallucination feeling as he is still stuck in this daze of not being able to escape being stuck in a constant loop of reflection.
“Lean Wit Me”
Starting off with a simplistic guitar tab to instantly cut away into a low, yet quieted bass accenting direct lyrics filled with monotonous intent, Lean Wit Me sends a cold shiver down your spine before even being able to see the full picture Juice intends to paint. This song is the first time he allows the spotlight to be shifted from his deep, dark thoughts to his increasingly worse drug addiction. Many theorists believe this was his first public cry for help before he unfortunately died of overdose in a Chicago airport, December of 2019. A good descriptor of his lyrical skill in this song is the fact that I wanted to quote him, but ended up quoting the whole song. Each transition and topic touched is so well done without a single out of place reference for transitional purposes, or loose end not wrapped up by an accompanying rhyme. He kind of has an “If I die, I die” attitude in this song while also making some more generalized realizations on par with that of Lucid Dreams.
Wasted is Juice’s first song of the album featuring a big star- Lil Uzi Vert. Using yet another simple guitar tab, Juice relates the word “wasted” with the popular video game Grand Theft Auto V. When you die in that game, it gives you a “wasted” screen. This song is quite similar to Lean Wit Me, just with a more upbeat tone. Again, the spotlight is on his drug abuse, but it’s closely associated with a new woman. “I know I saw her put the percs in my Chronic, smoking until my eyes roll back like the old man, just another funeral for her, G*****n.” The most significant part of this song is Juice showing his vocal ability by singing a few octaves higher for a portion of the song. When Uzi has his verse, he turns the song away from the common trend of emo-rap into a more upbeat, fast paced rap song we haven’t seen yet in this album.
As I progress through this album, I begin to notice that guitar riffs/tabs paired with a deep and simple bass line is a common theme for the beats in this album. This song starts off in the right direction regarding Juice’s mental health. He sends off this feeling that though he may not be okay, he’s still able to get up despite all of these different aspects pulling him down. Sadly, this is short lived. After his first chorus, Juice’s newfound strength dissolves away, foreshadowing the next skit “She walkin’ me to my doom, I see her face in the room. When I’m alone in the room, I’ma blame that on the shrooms. Oh, feelin’ ridiculed, feelin’ like a fool, don’t know what to do. Lost my heart, don’t got s**t to lose.”
Casually, verbally spitting in his face, Juice calls his ex to get a rude yet predictable response. She casually and nonchalantly confirms that she is with a new guy and is happy with him. She then begins to get more angry as apparently Juice gets sensitive about her being with another guy or her being so boastful about it and proceeds to tell him he isn’t anything and to not contact her again.
Candles honestly surprised me and is one of the few moments of this album I’m confused about. Instead of him reacting heavily and being thrown into another loop of heavy depression, as most of us may predict by now, Candles is a more upbeat tone talking about his new girl and how he is timid and slightly reflective, yet way more moved on than I initially expected. He starts off the song with being timid by saying “I don’t know if it’s because my 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 can be taken two different ways, yet he later shows his intentions. He either is saying she is too good for him and all he is used to and subsequently deserves is people that are bad for him, or he is just insecure to start over and try again, and the unfamiliarity makes him uncomfortable. He later explains “She’s good for me, too good for me. These hoes love playing me, heartbreakin’ me. Don’t pray for me, just give me drugs” talking about how he is unfamiliar to being cared for and he is suspect that she is too good for him, and that he is just going to get played; so just give him drugs as that’s his fallback and safe place.
“Scared of Love”
This song is one that kind of is just passed over in search of the more popular songs such as Wasted, Lean Wit Me, and Black & White, yet its place in this album on an art and storytelling standpoint is very significant. This songs whole purpose is confirmation and a progress identifier. Confirmation that all the stretches and leaps of assumptions are correct, as well as a progress identifier that he doesn’t commonly think of his ex anymore. The spotlight is on new love, though the scars are still there. His insecurities of being not enough and her being too much are blatantly shown throughout the song. It accompanies the lyrics “I never been scared of love, scared to love” clarifying he isn’t scared of the concept of loving someone, just the act of opening up and doing it. Along with again, touching on drug abuse with lines like “I’m runnin’ out of Xans, runnin’ out of options. I really need to chill, ‘fore I’m in a coffin,” he also drops the bomb of “You’re way too much, still I’m not getting enough” which can be interpreted as in no matter how much a new girl gives, he still has this insatiable appetite for what he can’t get back- the girl who broke his heart.
Unfortunately, not in his best suit, Juice tries a more reflective sounding audio singing in a very edited, static-ish, old-phone-mic style edit. The whole premise of the song is summarized as he isn’t hurting as much as he used to, like it has turned to anger and aggression but is instantly contrasted by his depressed by lyrics such as “Take my sorrow and bury me alive in it. Wear your best dress, girl, ‘cause you gon’ die in it. Bet you regret the day that you lied in it.” It’s truly a shame that this song turned out the way it did, because though he claims part of it is freestyled, the lyrics are mostly weak and the rhyming seems forced, amature, and almost cringe at times.
The moment we have all been waiting for in these skits. The ex starts calling him. Other than a slight worry that he may give in in the upcoming songs, Karma (Skit) is what the title says: Karma. In summary, his ex calls him dozens of times, she apologizes about her last guy and says it means nothing, and shes mad that she still loves him and yet he’s choosing another girl over coming back to her. A beautiful contrast in this is that she used to say “I’m going to hang up.” “Stop calling me.” “I’m gonna block you” and now, shes saying “I really love you. Okay, but I said don’t hang up the phone, I wanna talk to you.”
Originally titled “Sticks and Stones,” Hurt Me starts off with a 20 second audio clip of what sounds like a giant machine powering up and whirring to life as Juice sing-talks a few words before jumping into the chorus of the song. Once on the chorus, Juice sings in a defiantly mad and determined tone. “Sticks and stones may break my bones. But the drugs won’t hurt me, the drugs wont hurt me,” is the powerful message Juice sends out as he starts this song referring to the fact that as bad as they are, drugs have always had his back and comforted him as he has basically gone through hell and back. He then says “Ex-girlfriend keeps calling my phone. But the bitch can’t hurt me so I’m not worried. All alone, did it on my own. So I show no mercy, so I show no mercy,” confidently proclaiming that his ex is nothing but words and doesn’t hold any power over him, and that he made it from the hole she put him in all by himself, so he won’t go back nor show mercy; giving us confidence of his lack of ambiguity for this situation.
“Black & White”
As lyrically genius as Black & White is, accompanied by its ability to make literally anyone and everyone want to get hype and party, it has a singular purpose in the storytelling of this album: It’s the first time Juice is genuinely happy and is having what seems to be the time of his life. No hesitation or underlying tones. Just pure party and time-of-his-life vibes in this song. As little as I may write about this song because the story significance is simplistic, I cannot stress how well made of a song it is; its on par with songs like Lean Wit Me and Wasted.
Long Gone is a lot to process and a lot of different emotions going on. Honestly, as much as I want to find an overarching theme for the whole song, it is probably better described in portions as to not miss out on crucial lyrics and emotions. At the start, it feels like a proper bid farewell. He starts with “Leave her in the past but I know I’ll miss her. I kept all of her paraphernalia,” sounding like a full and final send off, but he also seemed sentimental. He then begins to reminisce about experiences with her for a line, showing he is back to ambiguity; following with repeating the phrase “long gone” quite a few times. This seems as though its either a turning point and him waving goodbye to those memories, or he is just telling himself its over, and dragging himself back into his deep pit of depression. The next verse seems like a more overview of his struggles as well as talking again about his ex trying to come back into his life again. The one verse that stuck out to me was “The devil tryna test me, I’m failing, inhaling.” This term is applicable to so many aspects of his struggles throughout this album, but I would assume its associated with the line before saying “Heartbreak mixed with the drugs not the best thing” referencing the temptation to go back with the devil, aka his ex. He then dives into how she took his love for granted and how he is still scared to fall out of love with the next girl he finds, and to finish it off, he wraps it up finishing with the start of how he is leaving his ex in the past, though he will miss her and they had good memories.
“End of the Road”
This peppy beat can’t hide its true tone of sadness after your first time of listening to this song. The song starts off really dark “This is as far as it goes. This the end of the road. This the end of the rope. The other end at her throat. It's suicidal she wrote. This is the end of her show, it's over.” Trying to interpret this one is hard for a singular reason: I don’t know if Juice is talking about his ex, or whatever new love he found. The only lead we get is later in the song when he says “I told you baby, I ain’t saving no hoe. I only save the money, anti-hero. I burn my old clothes and got some new clothes. I left my old hoes and got some new hoes.” This leads me to believe he is talking about his ex, as he is only saving the money he makes off the album he writes about her, and that he burns his old clothes to become a new person, completely free of anything to do with his ex.
“I’ll Be Fine”
Just like Black & White, this song has a simplistic and happy interpretation. To end off the album, Juice talks about how last night was a long night (referring to End of the Road) and how he was ready to party before those events happened. He then talks about his respect and how he will die for his, most likely referring to not ever caving into his ex. The most significant part of the song is how now people are telling him to stop abusing drugs, but for the time being, they aren’t hurting him so he sees no reason to stop. A lyric that sticks out, now in the future, is “My momma told me ‘stop the painkillers.’ Them s**ts is killing me, I’ma be fine.” Unfortunately, Juice never was able to get over his drug addiction, and ended up dying due to accidental overdose of painkillers. Eerie to see post-mortem. Anyways, I’ll Be Fine is intended to be a hopeful and positive note to end the album, showing us the monumental hole he had climbed out of, yet, he unintentionally shows another problem he will struggle with until it overcomes him, a year and seven months later.
Juice WRLD’s Goodbye & Good Riddance showed so many different sides of Juice, along with his lyrical and musical ability. He created a whole new genre of “Emo Hip Hop/Rap” and showed that its okay to talk about your problems, no matter how many times you think you are ok, but go back to square one. In a generation of rap filled with nothing but violence, sex and flaunting wealth, Juice WRLD’s works beyond just Goodbye & Good Riddance will serve as a staple of true lyrical talent while telling a hard to talk about story to better others in the same dark place.