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Track Review: Jorja Smith’s ‘Let Me Down’

The type of song that makes you feel woozy or that you should be sipping a strong drink to.

Charlotte Kohlberg

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British R&B singer songwriter Jorja Smith’s jazz-tinged raspy voice is captivating on “Let Me Down,” which features UK grime artist Stormzy.  If Alicia Keys and Amy Winehouse morphed into completely different artist, it would sound like Smith on this track. The single was released in January 2018 to promote her upcoming tour. 

The song is sad and sexy in a James Bond opening title song kind of way, staying in tune with a slow jazzy ballad approach — like James Bond theme song predecessors Adele with “Skyfall” and Sam Smith with “Writing’s on The Wall.”

What do those songs have in common? Tragic lyrics paired with powerful voices and dramatic instrumental melodies, all of which Smith accomplishes. I would argue that this should be the theme song of the next Bond film.

The ballad consists of two verses, the first sung by Smith and the second rapped by Stormzy. The lyrics are dark and allude to pain and a sad ending, in case the song title reveal that. Smith and Stormzy are narrating a story of a relationship gone bad: “Sometimes, I wouldn’t mind if I was less important/Would you think about them all the time?/Wonder if you’ll even notice in the morning/So where’d you go when you can’t get to me/And you just can’t control.

It’s slow and intentional as it goes into the chorus with more intensity repeating, “But I’ve got you to let me down.” 

The reason why this second party is letting Jorja down is uncertain, but she does admit, “only you can understand why,” suggesting something personal. The hidden meaning only makes it more intriguing.

Smith sheds some light on the mystery in a press release, saying “’Let Me Down’ is about meaning very little to someone but being okay with that, even though it hurts.” 

On Stormzy’s verse, rapped in his low smoky voice, an amazing complement to Smith’s octave climbing singing. His verse provides an alternate point of view. Where Smith’s verse is the disappointed, Stormzy’s verse is from that of the dissapointer. The poeticism is raw with slang: “Time is golden, time is thin/But time is rare, so we squander and that/I feel your pain when I hear your voice/So fix your tone, man, you’re stronger than that/And you’re, like, the strongest girl I know/Probably the strongest, minus my mum.”

The verse goes on longer, but you get the idea, unrequited love. 

“Let Me Down” is the type of song that makes you feel woozy or that you should be sipping a strong drink to. It’s sexy, dark, dramatic, and heart wrenching. The music video adds to the drama of the song, so check it out herehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaEPYljtIAw.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Charlotte is a recent Graduate in Art History from New York University. After working at a publishing company, she realized her affinity for writing when she had to write weekly newsletters on authors and podcasts. She started her journalism career contributing for online media and entertainment source, The Knockturnal. Currently living in New York City, Charlotte enjoys going to concerts and art museums, and mixing cocktails for her friends.

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