‘falling or flying’; a sonically vast record – sometimes sleek and shiny R&B, sometimes vibey and heated UK funky, elsewhere intense and raw alternative – is a record which finds an artist stepping into a new chapter. Jorja’s acknowledging the ever-whirring cogs of her brain but also moving through it, growing, respecting herself above everything else. It’s why the defiant lead single ‘Try Me’ – an astute, self-dissecting take on being viewed by the public gaze over bold, intricate beats – is also the opening track of the album. She explains: “It’s kind of ‘BAM!’, you know? It whacks you right in the face, it sounds like an entrance.” She credits the record’s slick and assured musicality to production duo DAMEDAME*: “I feel like making the album brought me back home,” she smiles, warmly, “Where you’re from is where you get your powers, and that’s why I’m so grateful I could make this with DAMEDAME* – they still have their roots in the ground from back home. And we had so much fun making this.”

She says the first half of the album is the flying, the feeling herself, and midway through there’s a switch from the confidence to the insecurity and self-doubt of falling. We go from 2023’s summer anthem ‘Little Things’ to a glorious J Hus feature ‘Feelings’, to the title track, all of which find Jorja navigating friendships, her relationship with herself, and trying to move to men at parties – and often finding them coming up short. Then there’s ‘Go Go Go’, a propulsive indie-adjacent track that nods to Jorja’s teen love of groups like Jaws, The Kooks, Bombay Bicycle Club. “I’m in my little alt bag, but I’ve always kind of been in it,” she grins, “People might be like, ‘I didn’t expect this’, but I’m like: ‘well, I would.’” The track also marks the shift to the ‘falling’ half of the album, switching to a sound that’s more intense but also perhaps more introspective. Beyond that point, there are beautiful songs like ‘Try and Fit In’, which utilises the choir of 11 to 18 year old girls she’s started since moving back to Walsall, recognising the dearth in spaces for young people to congregate and create with the closure of youth centres.

On ‘falling or flying’, Jorja Smith is reminding herself (and us), that whether things are up or down, she’s very much in control. In fact, as she grows and holds herself, she’s fully thriving

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