In our new editorial series RANKED, we discuss and dissect the FIVE best tracks off each album at hand.
It’s obvious there will never be another artist like Juice WRLD. Between hour-long freestyles, a 2,000-song archive and artistic influence and talent beyond comprehension, Goodbye & Good Riddance not only cemented his undoubted legacy for years to come, but ushered in an entire generation of artists that all channel the emotive, open-hearted narratives he brought forth.
GB&GR encapsulates a moment in time, yet is truly timeless in nature. When SoundCloud-era pioneers like Trippie Redd, Playboi Carti, Ski Mask The Slump God and Lil Uzi Vert all experienced a mainstream explosion — becoming the marquee stars of the scene in the process — the Chicago-born icon was at the cusp of bona fide notoriety by being both unafraid and unfiltered with his sound.
Sharing the now-classic album on May 23, 2018, GB&GR ultimately brought forth a new meaning to heartbreak. Introducing a distinctive blend of emo, rap and pop-punk inspired trap, the album’s raw vulnerability and undeniably infectious melodies are a cornerstone of the record — a testament to Juice’s one-of-one talent. His ability to fuse emotional lyricism, which was majorly freestyled, and pop-punk inspired hooks was evident on the 999 mixtape, where the rapper initially linked up with then-budding producers Nick Mira and Sidepce.
Together, a new pocket of emo-rap was born, propelling Juice to the forefront of the underground bolstered by the introspective, melody-laced “All Girls Are The Same” and “Lucid Dreams.” Those songs may have been the moments that put millions of eyes on Juice, but it’s the album’s unmatched cohesiveness, utterly honest narratives, heart-wrenching skits and an untethered perception of reality that made it feel like Juice wasn’t just rapping, but included us in a therapy session.
Failed love, seething lust, drug use and unabashed self-reflection evidently paint Juice out to be a self-tormented, tattered soul. However, it sees him bid farewell to toxic relationships, negative influences and the personal demons he constantly battles. The title itself represents a turning point and a desire to leave behind negativity and embrace personal growth, showing a new wave of artists that it’s okay to speak from your heart — no matter how bitter.
To celebrate the five-year anniversary of ‘Goodbye & Good Riddance,’ here are our top FIVE tracks that make this album a classic.
1) “Lean Wit Me”
I didn’t want the usual suspects on this list (“All Girls Are The Same,” “Lucid Dreams,” “Black & White,” “Wasted”) for a reason. Despite being the most popular and revisited tracks on the album, they aren’t what holds Goodbye & Good Riddance together as a cohesive body of work. In terms of depth and replay value — and the brevity of the album’s underlying themes — “Lean Wit Me” is perhaps the most hard-hitting realization that the drug problems Juice spoke on were much realer than listeners initially thought. Between its menacing 808s and sizzling guitar riffs, it’s lines like “Told her if I die, I’mma die young” that are a chilling reminder of the late-rapper’s fate. This is just one of the many instances where Juice had predicted his own death in his music, but to be this aware of himself on his debut album, “Lean Wit Me’s” shock value alone puts this atop the list.
2) “I’m Still”
There’s a few moments on GB&GR that make you want to break down and cry, but “I’m Still” is an instant tear-jerker. It’s almost hard not to feel bad for Juice at times, as its skits like “Intro,” “Betrayal” and “Karma” all keep the emotion-bending narrative in focus. “I’m Still” furthers this feeling of despair, which sees Juice at his most raw and uncensored — inciting goosebumps with its opening ad-libs that are seemingly sung from the bottom of an abyss. “Lost my heart, don’t got shit to lose,” he drawls off on the bridge, yet again tying emo-laced guitar melodies and trap drums together. This song takes you to another place altogether, ranking as Juice’s most emotional and vulnerable performance on the record. Everyone can resonate with a lost love, but conjuring feelings that translate the anger, frustration and sadness that follow isn’t just a skill — it’s a calling.
3) “Long Gone”
A track that objectively deserves the same amount of praise as “Lucid Dreams,” “Long Gone” had all the makings to be a chart-topping hit, however, it’s a cult classic instead. “Listen to my story, it’s depressing / Heartbreak mixed with the drugs, not the best thing,” Juice raps, again citing the overarching awareness he possesses within all of his tracks. The smooth melody and crisp drum progression doesn’t hit you over the head, straying away from regurgitated trap hats or an unoriginal hook. If anything, it’s one of the most memorable performances on the entire record, as Juice mixes and molds his voice to different pockets — finding new flows and sing-rapping his way through another introspective assertion of his emotions. If “Long Gone” isn’t in your top five, listen closer this time.
4) “Used To”
“It don’t hurt as bad as it used to” is a sentiment that sums up GB&GR near perfectly, so why not have “Used To” in this list? Proving to be more of pop-punk ballad instead of a rap cut, “Used To” glistens with harmonious guitars that back Juice’s captivating slurred vocals — wearing the depressive emotions littered throughout the album fully on his sleeve. “I’ve been drinking, driving and surviving,” he sings, displaying an overwhelming amount of raw emotion and realness in lines like “break my heart, goddamn / I don’t have no friends, goddamn / I’m alone until the end, goddamn.” It plays off both dark and light elements, finding a contrast within the airy guitar melody and grunge-filtered vocals. As a further peek into Juice’s shattered heart, “Used To” is a battle inside his mind that leads to external faults. Sad, but profound.
Another underappreciated gem on GB&GR, “Candles,” like the aforementioned tracks, highlights Juice’s affinity for storytelling within his prowess for punchlines. “She love drama, she be watching Jerry Springer” is among the most memorable bars on the LP, as “I don’t know if it’s because my hearts hurts or if I’m insecure” is another play on Juice’s weariness to love again. All things must come to an end, or at least from Juice’s perspective, squeezing any and all happiness out of him in place of the feelings drugs give him. “Love did no for good for me… don’t pray for me, just give me drugs,” he sing-raps, seeming to find light at the end of the tunnel, yearning for “something other than Xannys to take the pain away.” Here, Juice seemingly wakes up from the comatose that’s ensnared him, as “Candles” is a celebration of his vices that admittedly leads him to greater self-awareness.
Let us know your Top 5 ranked in our comments!