The emerging genre of emo-rap is one often ridiculed and critically disliked. Juice WRLD’s Goodbye and Good Riddance is the embodiment of why this genre has received this reaction. Though popular amongst casual listeners, this album represents the manner in which emo-rap utilizes the very worst of both genres it fuses and creates art that is melodramatic and unaware. On his debut, Juice WRLD presents himself and the genre he enters as undeserving of any continued attention.
Throughout the inflated sixteen tracks, Juice WRLD presents himself as the victim of a heartless woman, as do many emo bands and rappers. Before I go further, I’d like to emphasize that this is exactly what each of the sixteen tracks are about. Each and every one of them can be summarized as follows: she broke my heart, I’m sad, I’m doing drugs, look at my outfit. This is every single song without exception. Juice WRLD songs are as different as Sprite and Sierra Mist. They’re not exactly the same, but they’re the same. Thus, the listener has to hear about this repeatedly for forty-five minutes, which wouldn’t be a problem had Juice WRLD attempted to go about this expressionism creatively.
The repetitiveness of the album cannot be asserted as its main flaw, as Juice WRLD’s sheer immaturity is so overwhelmingly frustrating that it feels like the album just cannot finish fast enough. There’s a song on here that’s titled “All Girls Are The Same.” That seems like something borrowed out of the worst (or best depending on who you ask) of Blink-182 or Lil Peep. What’s being communicated within the songs is also reminiscent of middle school Facebook posts. “She love drama/ she be watching Jerry Springer” is one of the best examples of the many times Jucie WRLD contradicts his own somber intentions with his adolescent goofiness, though “I’m still flexing with my heart broken” is a close follow up. Admittedly, these lines are pretty funny, but it’s clear he wasn’t intending lighten the mood. It’s lyrics like this that make this album feel like Holden Caulfield listened to too much XXXTentacion.
Goodbye and Good Riddance only ever shines in its production, seemingly picking off where the likes of Lil Peep left off and making the sound even more melodic. The guitar samples, most specifically the melodies on “Lean Wit Me,” create smooth waves to carry the listener past Juice WRLD’s repetitive crooning. Sadly, the amount of tracks makes it difficult to appreciate the greatness of these instrumentals, as the saturation of this sound diminishes the actual improvements upon it. Juice WRLD would have been better off cutting a lot of this material and honing the highlights. Or at least spared us from those corny skits.
I don’t like to condemn an artist based on their first project, but it doesn’t seem like Juice WRLD is offering anything new or interesting with his art. Even with an assist from Lil Uzi Vert on “Wasted,” the Chicago rapper doesn’t seem able to create anything substantial. It feels that, like the emo wave, the young people currently enjoying Juice WRLD’s music will one day look back on this music and cringe at it. Unfortunately, due to repetitive subject matter, immaturity, and occasional misogyny, I’m cringing in the present day.