Updated: Dec 16, 2020
The late Juice WRLD's first posthumous album titled 'Legends Never Die' is finally here. After tragically passing away due to a drug overdose at just 21 last December, we expected this release to follow. I'm always weary with posthumous albums, and Juice is one of my favourite artists so I wasn't sure how this would sound - but to my surprise it was actually decent.
The production here is varied, with some beats that bang such as that of 'Conversations' which has these sci-fi synths and heavy, distorted 808s acting as a bass while he talks on fighting his demons and numbing them with drugs and money. There's some emotional lines with all considered, "Feels like I'ma die every second of the day // So I gotta get high // Ain't no coming down, ain't no coming down, why? // My anxiety bring me down, that's the fucking downside", and the melody of the hook is catchy making it a great start. Other beats on here are more bland too, especially the beat of 'Can't Die'. This track tributes those who have passed away as he hopes not to join them, and if it wasn't for the eerie and emotional lyrics I don't think I'd like this song much because it's pretty tasteless. There are definitely more good than bad beats though. The key elements to the production here is trap elements, acoustic guitars and melancholy feels. 'Blood On My Jeans' is interesting, because the acoustic guitar helps create an incredibly emotional beat but the heavy 808s kind of take away from that which is just so frustrating. It's a good song but could've been something real special if that beat was left raw - the outro lets you really know how hard hitting that beat could've been.
Juice himself lyrically is decent at times, and average at other times - but we get emotional and introspective lyrics all throughout this. Juice says "Set sail in the codeine bottle, I'ma drown in it, drown in it // Shit fills me up, but whatever goes up goes down in it, down in it" on 'Titanic' as he compares his mental health to the sinking of the titanic. The line is emotional with all considered, and the hopeless beat works well (despite being pretty plain) as he provides us a nice melody and catchy hook. We get more hurtful foreshadowing on 'Righteous' with, "We may die this evening // Coughing, wheezing, bleeding", and this melancholy, acoustic guitar beat is great and the whole song is so delicate, amazing and has a heavenly feel to it - they did really good on this one. Juice's melodic delivery as usual is soft and melodic which always has a catchy tone to it - one of the biggest appeals of his music. 'Wishing Well' has this more pop punk, retro guitar beat as Juice talks on his drug addiction. This is a great song, the hook is so emotional and the beat is amazing as the song emits so much emotion with certain lines such as "If it wasn't for the pills, I wouldn't be here // But if I keep taking these pills, I won't be here, yeah", which show the vicious cycle Juice finds himself stuck in. You could even argue this is one of Juice's best songs because it's so good.
The features are limited on this album and I'm surprised - I would've wanted a few more to be honest but the ones we get are decent, especially Trippie Redd on 'Tell Me U Luv Me'. Trippie's vocals are amazing and packed with passion and emotion over this crazy banging beat capturing the desperacy of the mood with the heavy guitar. Juice's flow on the 2nd verse is fire and the whole song is perfect and easily my favourite on the album. 'Hate the Other Say' has both Polo G who provides a decent verse with a soft melodic delivery and The Kid LAROI who's voice is a bit grating but it's an emotional verse and passable. The fast paced beat is pretty generic, and while the verses on gun violence and a troubled upbringing are cool, the hook just falls short and isn't very interesting or catchy and more bland than most. Halsey's input on 'Life's a Mess' is alright despite how short it is over this very melancholy beat packed with an acoustic guitar and emotional violins as he talks on recovering from heart break to find his current girlfriend, Ally. The beat on the verses is so minimal that it bores me - the hook saves this track from going down as a bad one (mainly due to the beat being brought back to life at this point) but overall it's still mid.
The few interludes we have on this album are slightly corny but emotional at the same time and highlight what a great man he was. 'Anxiety - Intro' talks on Juice's life with fame - covering drug addiction, anxiety and loving yourself. It's the first thing we hear and is quite emotional over these violins. 'Get Through It - Intro' is the next interlude we come to, and it's about those going through personal troubles and having the strength to get through and recover from it. It's the same speech as that from Eminem's 'Godzilla' music video, and again while emotional the vocals seem a but drowned in this beat. 'The Man, The Myth, The Legend - Interlude' is the best one here as it has different rappers from Eminem to J Cole to Young Thug and more talking on how talented Juice WRLD really was and it's a nice edition to the tracklist. The outro 'Juice WRLD Speaks from Heaven - Outro', while emotional is a bit and eerie corny (especially the title) and the least interesting of the skits on here.
Content wise it's everything you expect from a Juice album - love, drugs, flexing and addiction. He doesn't always dive into these topics with the most thought but he definitely gets his feelings across. Examples include the song 'Fighting Demons' which is about his demons and reflecting on fame and it really showcases how good he was at making catchy and soft music - it wasn't the best song here but it was still good. 'Screw Juice' another track about his issues and drug addiction was the only 'bad' song on the album, because the beat is very generic 808 patterns and melancholy feels and his vocals fall flat making it a bit tedious. 'Man of the Year' was a very good song focusing on the fact that despite his newfound fame - he isn't happy. The rock influenced beat sounds good with them deep drums and guitar, and he just genuinely knew how to make a hit with any genre influence. His lines in the chorus, "I know my lyrics saved you, I know my lyrics saved you", which echo are just so sad again with all considered now, he couldn't save himself despite all those he helped. I feel a bit more variation is needed, maybe some light hearted songs every now and then could've helped out a bit.
Other tracks to look at include the track 'Bad Energy' which is full of introspective and emotional lyrics as we get the usual themes. The guitar-based melancholy beat sounds decent, and the hook is this chanting anthem. The verses are a bit slow moving until his sped up cadence comes in a breathes fresh air into the track and overall it's a good song. Marshmello on 'Come & Go' gives us this upbeat instrumental with an electric guitar as it explodes sounding great at one point as Juice tells us the positive sides of love. It's an interesting track, hard to make my mind up because it sounds really manufactured but overall I'll say it's a decent track. 'I Want It' has these heavenly, harp strings but other than that it's pretty lifeless - but the delicate and softness of the track really shows his love for his girlfriend and it's a pretty great song. 'Up Up and Away' has an early 2000's ukele beat which I love with its trap combination due to how unique it is and again it's a track where Juice's soft voice just hurts to hear, and it's so emotional. 'Stay High' again has a decent trap beat but nothing special as Juice talks on flexing and shooting people up. The hook is quite catchy but the rest of the song is kind of the same as others but it's been done better.
To conclude, this album is straight up emotional. It's full of catchy hooks, solid verses - but also some bland spots too. The production helps create this whole emotional atmosphere and you can really tell it was a passion project and not a cash grab like other posthumous records. Juice really had the potential to be great and the biggest star on the planet, forever one of my favourite artists and it's so sad he was taken so soon. Long live Jared Higgins <3.
FAVOURITE TRACKS: Conversations, Titanic, Bad Energy, Righteous, Blood On My Jeans, Tell Me U Luv Me, Come & Go, Fighting Demons, Wishing Well, Up Up and Away, Man of the Year LEAST FAVOURITE TRACK: Screw Juice OVERALL RATING: Solid 7.5/10
*REVISED SCORE: Review may not match favourite tracks and overall rating because I've since re-listened and changed my score.*