Jorja Smith – ‘Falling Or Flying’: a beautiful portrait of an artist in ascendance

Jorja Smith's long-awaited second album is a sonic adventure that never stops surprising.


Since she first emerged in 2016 with her hypnotic debut single ‘Blue Lights’, Jorja Smith has been heralded as one of the UK’s most enthralling voices. She proved that acclaim right on her debut album – 2018’s ‘Lost & Found’ – but it wasn’t until a few years later and the mixtape ‘Be Right Back’ that the world really started to get to know the real Jorja. 

‘Falling Or Flying’, her long-awaited second album, pulls back that curtain even further, showcasing the eclectic sounds that occupy her mind without overshadowing the stunning vocals that first gripped listeners. The journey it takes us on is unpredictable – a sonic adventure that never stops surprising and shows just how dexterous Smith’s creativity is. 

‘GO GO GO’, on the surface, is perhaps the most unexpected track of all. “You like to kiss and tell / About it all,” Smith laments over a jerky guitar base that evokes echoes of indie discos. That might not be the sound the singer and songwriter is typically associated with, having made her name with honeyed R&B and soul, but is reflective of her youth – she says it’s a nod to her love of bands like Jaws and The Kooks. ‘Feelings’, which features J Hus, switches things up entirely, taking us to a different kind of dancefloor – still sticky and sweaty, but this time soundtracked by a hip-shaking, sunkissed beat – while ‘Little Things’ bounces on a syncopated, elastic bassline made for dingy clubs as the sun goes down on the horizon. 


The second half of the album is more different still. If the first half represents the flying in the record’s title, then this latter section is the falling, and it showcases this in more sombre, emotional tones. “This life ain’t what you asked / As I thought out loud / I travelled far for this,” she sighs over fingerpicked acoustic guitar. It’s a minimal, arresting stop and one that beautifully shows another side to Smith’s artistry. 

‘Falling Or Flying’ comes after a big period of change in the star’s life. Finding London too intense, she moved back to her native Walsall – a move that let her rediscover her passion and reassert her control. “You got me, I’m still right,” she sings on ‘Greatest Gift’, a letter to her younger self. It’s a message that rings true throughout her second album; a beautiful, triumphant example of that sentiment in motion. 

Jorja Smith – 'Falling Or Flying'
jorja-smith-falling-or-flying-album-reviewReleased 29 September 2023