For Just Jack, it was a juxtaposition which saw two of his tracks – The Day I Died and Starz in Their Eyes – enter the pop scene. Songs about car crashes and the dark world of celebrity showbiz were masked under soft, smooth guitar riffs. Nevertheless, the sad topics didn’t stop listeners from playing his music. Yet, after a while, Just Jack joined the list of names classified as ‘one hit wonders’. Now, he returns with Alchemist.
It’s been seven years since The Day I Died was released, and the public’s taste in music has changed dramatically. The poppy guitar tracks are no longer interesting as the industry moves towards tropical house/calypso and darker, hard-hard hitting alternative music. Thankfully, in the five-minute long track, Alchemist sees a more bubbly synth undertone and is moved away from Just Jack’s original style from the noughties. That being said, with emotive lyrics, it’s not a completely new style for the artist; it’s still chilled and relaxed music, but with more instrumental freedom.
However, the length may deter some listeners – particularly when it’s a slow, progressive track. With previous releases, it’s clear when the chorus kicks in (be it repetitive lyrics or an increase in tempo), but when there’s little deviance from the sombre tone in Alchemist for most of the song, it takes a few listens to recognise where exactly in the single the chorus can be found.
Nevertheless, the contrast between upbeat instrumentals and gloomy lyrics is a style which is still apparent in Just Jack’s music seven years later. Alchemist is a great comeback track for the artist, and makes for perfect listening on a chilled afternoon.