Following the British singer-songwriter’s first entire project since her BRIT Award-winning and Mercury prize-nominated debut album, Lost & Found, back in 2018, we were all anticipating the new release of Be Right Back.
While Smith insists that the eight-track piece is more of a filler project for her fans, the title of the piece is intrinsically self-conscious of this status. In a press release she’s added, “It’s called ‘Be Right Back’ because it’s just something I want my fans to have right now. This isn’t an album and these songs wouldn’t have made it. If I needed to make these songs, then someone needs to hear them too.” In listening to the non-album, I was aware of Smith’s candour and intentions of it as more of a sample or teaser for her next actual album.
Without the pressure, the record allows for a free and relaxed approach to the project. Smith starts off strong with the most-listened-to single ‘Addicted’ which holds the backdrop of a semi-drum and bass rhythm against the romantically confessional lyrics of a broken-down relationship. Packing another powerful punch for the EP is ‘Bussdown’ which features South London rapper, Shaybo. Evoking a subtle dancehall beat while showcasing Smith’s powerful harmonies and her cool-girl languid vocal style – ‘Bussdown’ is definitely the most exciting and ambitious track on the EP.
At only a minute and fifty-four seconds, Smith’s fourth track, ‘Time’ proves to be at a direct contrast to its previous track ‘Bussdown’. With honest and tender lyrics over gentle acoustic guitar, the placement of these two tracks effortlessly illustrates Smith’s diverse range of material. Followed by the vulnerable lyrics of ‘Burn’ with rolling percussion and bass guitar is ‘Weekend’ – the final track on the EP.
The deliberately unstructured and free-flowing final track appears to be the most gripping of the album. With her ephemeral falsetto and operatic harmonies, ‘Weekend’ harks back on the melancholia and jazzy elements of Blue Lights and Don’t Watch Me Cry which made us all fall in love with Lost & Found back in 2018.
With her emotional frankness and evolved confidence, the EP in itself proves that even Smith’s rejects are still very much so worthy of listening, attention, and earns its place on hot vax summer playlists!
Words by Rhiannon Ingle
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