“Fighting Demons”, a pleasant but soulless getaway in the psyche of Juice WRLD – The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Juice WRLD’s “Fighting Demons” album was released on December 10th. Photo by Lexiou WesCudi via Flickr

Two years and two days after his sudden passing in December 2019, the production team of Jarad Higgins, better known by his stage name Juice WRLD, released their posthumous second album “Fighting Demons” on December 10.

Juice WRLD’s posthumous debut album “Legends Never Die”, released in July 2020, was a critical and commercial success, featuring the songs he had brewed before his death. As of now, “Fighting Demons” marks the first major release where Grade A Productions, the production team of Juice WRLD, is fully in charge of its creation. “Legends Never Die” was made up of songs that were already in progress while Juice WRLD was alive, while “Fighting Demons” was made up entirely of songs that he had put in the vault. Considering all of the high expectations hanging over them from the music world, his team did a decent job.

Before this album came out, I was absolutely terrified of what I thought we were going to get. From my first listening to the two singles from the album, “Already Dead” and “Wandered to LA”, I was appalled. Both songs sounded like glorified leaked remasters that I might have found on YouTube three years ago. They appeared as freestyles which Juice WRLD did as vocal warm-ups that Grade A decided to drop. However, listening to the full album the day after its release, I saw that the singles were solid entry points for the tone of “Fighting Demons”.

The album’s dark tone is almost immediately recognizable, with the first five tracks showing, almost ominously, just how much Juice WRLD envisioned his own demise. It appears in the first track, “Burn”, with lyrics such as “I fell asleep too deeply this time / I woke up to your cry, girl I’m fine / But I lied / I did a dream, I was’ I’m not going to wake up this time.

Like many other Juice WRLD albums, “Fighting Demons” attempts to take listeners on a journey through their struggles with anxiety and drug addiction, trying to show that there is hope for people to overcome their difficulties. difficulties. This time around, Juice WRLD isn’t the only voice spreading hope. The album’s fifth track, “Eminem Speaks” features an interview with the rap legend where he discussed his struggles with drug addiction and the anxieties that accompany it.

For a posthumous album over a year in the works, its high caliber sound is indicative of how long it took to release. The collection of 10 producers created the perfect tonal balance between upbeat and somber music to complement Juice WRLD’s lyrics. Two songs in particular were blessed with talent from the best in the industry with the aforementioned “Burn” led by St. Louis producer Metro Boomin, and the “Doom” track worked by record producer duo Take a Daytrip. .

Personally, “Fighting Demons” pulled a backhand from “An evening with Silk Sonic”Where instead of the project sounding less and less good the more I listened, my pleasure grew with each press of the play button. Even with all of the songs appearing to be unfinished demo songs, Grade A did a good job putting together all of the songs given to them.

While my enjoyment for the album is genuine, the album as a whole felt soulless to me. When I mention an album with or without a soul, I am referring to this intangible feeling of the finality that an album has in its creation. When you hear albums like “Certified Lover Boy” by Drake or Tyler, “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST” by the creator, you can feel the life radiating from music. With “Fighting Demons” her veins seemed too stretched to get the heartbeat an album needs.

This soullessness can almost certainly be attributed to the posthumous status of this album. Without Juice WRLD being present for the creation of the album, we immediately feel its absence. Even “Legends Never Die” had the kind of soul that always made it feel with us, but “Fighting Demons” gives off the same vibes as an extremely well-made fan album.

While many posthumous albums fell victim to the tendency to be inundated with features from other artists, this album was able to escape this unwanted fate. Only three of the album’s 15 full songs contained characteristics of any kind, including appearances by North American stars like Justin Bieber and Polo G, as well as South Korean artists like BTS and SUGA.

The ultimate hallmark of the album came from rapper Trippie Redd, whose verse on the track “Feline” displays as much passion as an artist can on a song of this nature. Understanding Juice WRLD and Trippie Redd’s friendship in life made phrases like, “We don’t play both sides, choppa with me, .45 / Juice gonna hold like two 9s, bitch, us 1400, 999” gives me chills every time I hear them.

Despite its good points, the release of this album only seems to stagnate the legacy of Juice WRLD. If he was alive we could have seen the improvements and evolution in his sound that come with time. Instead, we’re forced to live, listening to tracks he started in 2019 and even before.

If Juice WRLD’s music release ended with “Legends Never Die,” audiences would have had a good idea of ​​the progression he has made in life. With the release of yet another posthumous album, all we see is a Grade A attempt to force that progression to places it was never meant to go.

Ultimately, “Fighting Demons” is the exact reason the music industry shouldn’t keep releasing. posthumous albums in this style. It was a solid album with guaranteed replay value, but nothing overwhelming. If so, then that begs the question: why free him at all?


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