Jaden Smith’s SYRE, while very flawed, is purely youthful fun

Jaden Smith has continuously remained a puzzling figure in the realm of pop culture. From him tweeting “How Can Mirrors Be Real If Our Eyes Aren’t Real” to carrying his cut off dreads as an accessory at this year’s Met Gala, Smith has made it clear that he wants to make a strong image of himself. Venturing into the music industry with his debut album titled SYRE, Smith delivers a hodgepodge of tracks that transition from enjoyable to downright cringe-worthy.

The album opens with the track “BLUE,” a unique 4-part song. The first part, “B,” opens with his sister, Willow Smith, and Pia Mia telling the biblical story of creation. Halfway through the track, the atmosphere switches to a gritty, bass-ridden part that transitions into Smith telling his tale of lost love with a fair share of ego supplement thrown in. The part flows seamlessly into “L” and the others, so much so that first-time listeners are unlikely to even realize the change. “BLUE” remains one of the most well-produced tracks on the entire album, sliding from smooth, ethereal synths to powerful, sharp drums without skipping a beat.

“Breakfast” holds its spot as another one of the album’s strongest tracks; however, excited listeners may be disappointed by the A$AP Rocky “feature,” consisting of a muffled, distorted voice that supposedly belongs to the Harlem rapper. Disappointment aside, the track showcases Smith’s flow at its best, though some of the lyrics could turn listeners away; in a matter of seconds, Smith compares himself to a salmon, then detailing how he sits on the ground while talking to Kendrick Lamar. The song’s beat changes midway through keeps it fresh. “Breakfast” has proved itself to be a hit despite the occasional shortcomings.

Smith slips in tidbits of storytelling throughout the album, referring to “Syre” as a character who presumably represents himself. These snippets, while adding some semblance of cohesiveness, remain vague and are seemingly pointless throughout the project. Even on the spoken word end track “SYRE,” Smith seems to be putting his vocabulary on display to appear “woke.”

The track “Hope” is another example of Smith’s pseudo-intellectual nature rearing its ugly head in a half-baked attempt at edginess. While the first verse builds up into an impressive chill-worthy harmony, Smith repeats that he does not consider himself a conspiracist and then delves into a 9/11 conspiracy in the very next line. Shortly after, he compares himself to Martin Luther King and then proceeds to “expose” corruption in the Senate. While Smith’s good intent is clear, many listeners may find it silly that the 19-year-old born into extreme wealth feels that he’ll be taken seriously on such controversial topics.

“Falcon,” featuring Raury, offers up one of the most gripe-free tracks on the entire album, with pleasant, crisp production accompanying Smith as he calls out his opponents and boosts his ego throughout the song. Raury’s verses shine and provide a strong contrast to Smith, and overall the track is fun to listen to and worth multiple listens. “Icon” also holds a similar spot as one of the hardest hitting tracks throughout. It’s a full-fledged banger, more so than any other song on SYRE. As egotistical and crass as it is, the song is best listened to with the volume maxed out.

“Watch Me” is Smith’s take on a rap and rock fusion, and the song is enjoyable enough to listen to if listeners can ignore the fact that it sounds suspiciously similar to Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead.” This isn’t the first time on the project that Smith seems to heavily borrow elements from another artist’s track either; another one of his songs, “Batman,” sounds strikingly similar to Drake & Future’s “Jumpman,” disappointingly.

Overall, SYRE‘s main shining point is its stellar production throughout the entire project. From “BLUE” produced by Ricky Eat Acid to the consistently good beats throughout the entire project, Smith shows that he plans to bring solid production to all of his work. As much as SYRE is heavily flawed, it truly is an enjoyable album to listen to. Yes, some of the lyrics are cringe-worthy, and yes, Smith has recycled other artist’s work with a bit of a personal twist. While these are glaring issues, SYRE is simply a fun album to listen to. Smith’s boyish voice is saturated with energy, and if he can learn from his mistakes on this project, Smith is sure to reinforce his name in the world of music.