It truly is quite a bit of a bummer to have to write about music made by an artist who recently passed away for the second week in a row. Obviously, Juice Wrld’s Legends Never Die is the best and most relevant record to come out in the last week so I have to say something about it, but I can’t lie and say it isn’t tough to write about such talented artists who should still be here with us today. From Mac Miller to Pop Smoke to Juice Wrld, the music industry has lost some of its brightest, most talented, and most unique stars currently in the business over the last year or so. Similar to Pop Smoke(he is who I wrote about last week), Juice Wrld was an artist who had a sound and style that was completely his own and was becoming super catchy and popular. His sound was so popular, in fact, that quite a few new Hip Hop artists have been heavily influenced by Juice Wrld, even though he really only popped onto the scene 3 or 4 years ago. Juice Wrld had a very cool and very beautiful singing voice that was filled with so much emotion, and a lot of his music talked about problems and insecurities that a lot of his biggest fans could relate to on a very personal level. He was one of the artists that wanted to fuse Emo-Rock music and Pop-Punk music with Atmospheric and Cloudy trap music. Juice Wrld’s voice fits the Emo-Trap genre almost too perfectly. It is almost like his voice was made for the exact type of music he was making; there was a reason so many artists still try to sound like him. Juice Wrld was one of the most popular rising stars in the rap game, and his second album was very highly anticipated. Unfortunately, Juice Wrld passed away on December 8, 2019, and he will never be able to see all of the success and love that he deserved to see. With all of that being said, here is a list of my favorite songs from Juice Wrld’s new record Legends Never Die. This album has quite a few hits, and there is a reason it is dominating the top 10 on Spotify’s streaming charts right now, so let me know if you agree with my choices in the comments below and tell me about other songs that you liked from this record that I did not mention. A couple of Honorable Mentions for me from this record that did not make the list are ‘Bad Energy,’ ‘Screw Juice,’ and ‘Blood On My Jeans.’ RIP Juice Wrld.
Out of all the songs on the album that have an instrumental that can be considered strictly Hip Hop, the instrumental for the song ‘Conversations’ has got to be my favorite. This track was produced by OMGRonny, and it has the typical elements that would make one assume this that he had something to do with this beat; i.e., a super trippy and dark feeling to the melody and an absolutely banging bassline. It is the kind of heavy instrumental that would expect to hear from Florida rappers like Denzel Curry or Kodak Black, with some super trippy synths that remind me a lot of some of Travis Scott’s biggest hits. Even though Juice Wrld is not really known for making music with this kind of instrumental(he typically opts for more chill and slow and atmospheric and cloudy melodies as opposed to something to tough and dark), he absolutely kills it with his vocal performance on this track and sounds so natural on it. Juice Wrld is known for his very unique singing voice that is sort of strained but covers a ton of range, and the melody of ‘Conversations’ highlights the best things about his voice super well. On ‘Conversations,’ Juice Wrld is singing about all of the pain and anguish he goes through every day and how he lets his demons(drugs and alcohol) take over so he can feel okay. This sentiment is described very well by the chorus: The devil hit my phone, he wanna talk. But I’m not really up for conversations. I can have my cake and eat it, too. I just gotta make a reservation. Chillin’ in my head, but it’s hot. Flames everywhere, I see Satan. Demons tryna run up in my spot a lot. Really, really runnin’ out of patience… ‘Conversations’ is a hard-ass Trap song which is very nice to listen to, and it gives us a very clear glimpse into how Juice Wrld was feeling at the time he made this song.
‘Titanic’ is a song that reminds me of so many different kinds of songs that Juice Wrld has made. There are just as many elements about this song that make it feel strictly like an Emo-Trap banger as there are elements that make it seems like a Punk Rock/Rap crossover. The instrumental is a perfect example of this. At times, it just feels like a super hard Trap instrumental you would expect to hear from people like Lil Peep or Post Malone, and at times it almost feels like a Punk-Trap song similar to other songs on this project like ‘Come & Go’ and ‘Man Of The Year.’ This track has a similar lyrical theme to a lot of the other music from Legends Never Die. Juice Wrld is fighting against his addictions and losing the battle, praying to God to get him over these problems because he does not what to do or where to turn to. ‘Titanic’ is a track where you can really hear the emotions that Juice Wrld is expressing more than ever in his voice. He sounds so desperate for help and almost like he is in pain on this track. ‘Titanic’ is a song that I would assume is going to be a major fan favorite, as it bundles all of the best elements and sounds in this project so well into one song so well and it has a ballad-like quality; I can see people singing their hearts out at the club as soon as we are allowed to be at clubs again.
‘Righteous’ was the first single that was released from this record after Juice Wrld passed away. I have read that Juice Wrld did really love this song while he was alive and had planned on releasing it in anticipation of his new album, and I wonder if it was actually the next song he was going to release. The reason I am curious about this is because ‘Righteous’ is such an emotional rollercoaster to listen to if you were a fan of Juice Wrld, and the lyrical content relates way to well to the situation around his death. It is obvious from this song that Juice Wrld was going through way to much bullshit emotionally at the time of his passing. Juice Wrld addresses a lot of his insecurities and mental health issues on the song ‘Righteous,’ and how these insecurities led to his heavy addiction to drugs like Codeine. This is how Juice Wrld himself explains how he is feeling: Five or six pills in my right hand, yeah. Codeine runneth over on my nightstand. Taking medicine to fix all of the damage. My anxiety the size of a planet. Holes in my skull, over time. My heart’s over ice… ‘Righteous’ has a very dreamy and sad instrumental tone that matches the lyrical content perfectly. The song is driven by a low key Trap beat and these really pretty but somber synths that go super well with Juice Wrld’s singing voice. ‘Righteous’ is a really sweet song that helps the listener reminisce on Juice Wrld’s talent and life in a really nice way. It sort of reminds me of Mac Miller’s first posthumous single ‘Good News’ in that regard.
HATE THE OTHER SIDE WITH MARSHMELLO, THE KID LAROI, AND POLO G
When I first saw the tracklist of Legends Never Die and looked at its features, I did not know what to think going to listening to it. I have always had a love/hate relationship with the production of Marshmello, having thought some of his songs are awesome and having thought some of them are super cheesy and almost lazy. As far as the other two features go, I do not know a lot about The Kid Laroi so I do not have an opinion on him and I think Polo G can be great in certain spots. With that being said, ‘Hate The Other Side’ has some awesome Emo-Trap production and both of the other features are very solid. This track has a Pop-Punk/Alt-Rock guitar melody that follows the theme of this record but does not drown out the performance of the artists at all. Sometimes Marshmello’s production can be so big that it sort of drowns out the rapping or singing on the song, but this is not the case at all for ‘Hate The Other Side. The Kid Laroi has a smooth and confident demeanor and flow that rides this instrumental perfectly, and Polo G’s excellent singing vocals really compliment Juice Wrld’s singing. The only thing I could say about this track that is not super positive is that I wish Juice Wrld had a bigger contribution to this song himself. Overall, though, ‘Hate The Other Side’ is a really solid Emo-Trap song that stands out on this tracklist because of the great performances from its features.
COME & GO WITH MARSHMELLO
After hearing the production on the first track from this record featuring Marshmello, to be honest I went into ‘Come & Go’ with pretty high expectations. Those expectations were definitely met with the awesome performances from both Juice Wrld and Marshmello. The production on this song has a Punk Rock tone that leans a lot more towards Rock than it does Hip Hop. The bassline and Drum Pattern on this song kind of go back and forth between Trap Production and the kind of drums you would hear in a typical 90s Punk song. I really like that it kind of switches up like this, as it keeps the listener on their toes and does not get too one-sided. Sometimes Emo-Trap production centered around a guitar riff can get a little redundant sounding, but that is not the case at all with the song ‘Come & Go.’ Similar to the song ‘Man Of The Year'(which comes up later on this list), Juice Wrld’s vocals have a lot more of a Rock n’ Roll feeling to them than most of the other music from this record. He really does not use any Hip Hop flows at all on this track, and it really does feel a lot more like a Punk Rock song with a little Hip Hop Production than it does a guitar-driven Emo Trap song. Regardless of what it reminds you of, ‘Come & Go’ is a major highlight from this record, and there is good reason as to why it is so popular.
‘Wishing Well’ is another song from Legends Never Die where Juice Wrld almost seemed to predict his own future and his own demise. One thing that is very apparent about this man is that he knew about all of his shortcomings and issues and that he was very self-aware; he knew what he was doing to himself, but he literally was not able to stop it. This is the problem with being addicted to heavy painkillers; no matter what you do and how much you want to change, once you get too far down the hole, it is almost impossible to come back. This is especially true when the user tends to take such high doses that they really could overdose at any time if they are not extremely careful. Juice Wrld explains these perils super well the chorus for this song: I can’t breathe, I’m waiting for the exhale. Toss my pain with my wishes in a wishing well. Still no luck, but oh, well. I still try even though I know I’m gon’ fail. Stress on my shoulders like a anvil. Perky got me itching like a anthill. Drugs killing me softly, Lauryn Hill. Sometimes I don’t know how to feel… Sonically, this song is not anything too crazy or out of the ordinary for Juice Wrld. In fact, if I were to explain what Juice Wrld was like to someone, ‘Wishing Well’ is probably a song I would refer to because it is almost exactly how most people would expect him to sound. The low key and very somber melody for this song really sets the tone in a place that is exactly where it should be, and you can hear the pain in Juice Wrld’s vocals more than ever on this track. I am sure that ‘Wishing Well’ will be a major fan favorite from this album because it signifies who he was and the best elements of his very unique sound and personality very well.
MAN OF THE YEAR
‘Man Of The Year’ has quickly become my favorite song on this album, and I like it more every time I listen to it. Juice Wrld has always loved Rock music and has always had Punk Rock tendencies in his music, but this is the first straight-up Rock song I have heard from Juice Wrld that sounds this complete and sincere. In the past, he has tried making this kind of music but never really seemed to fully commit to the sound, making the end result a bit lackluster. That is not the case at all for the song ‘Man Of The Year.’ This song sounds just like the Alt-Rock and Pop-Punk that we who grew up in the 2000s would constantly listen to. Juice Wrld’s voice has always had this deep and raspy element to it that sounds awesome on a Rock-tinted instrumental, and I think I like his voice in this song more than I liked the voices of all the Alt-Rock singers who made the music that this song is inspired by. I also really like the juxtaposition within the lyricism of this song. Although the title alludes to this song being about Juice Wrld’s success and how everything has seemed to be working out for him, in the verses Juice Wrld is singing about all of his insecurities and how he feels like he should be happier than he is. ‘Man Of The Year’s is super relatable and the sound of it brings me a lot of nostalgia; this will be one of my most played tracks for a while, trust me.