Joyce Wrice: "Overgrown"- Review
If this global pandemic has taught us human beings anything, it is simply to move with intention. Tomorrow is not promised and because of that, it is important that we make the most out of the days we spend here on Earth. After cultivating, growing, and molding her vision for 3 years, the beautiful Joyce Wrice is doing just that with her debut album, Overgrown.
Released on Friday (Mar. 19), the debut project finds the 28-year-old, L.A. native getting in touch with her emotions, acknowledging her worth, and courageously piecing the puzzles to her life as she goes. As previously stated, Overgrown arrives as Wrice's first full-length album and follows after her 2016 EP, Stay Around. Overgrown is a modern day diary filled with insecurities, truths & revelations, realizations, and most importantly, maturation and growth. Much like a seed that has to be planted and watered within dirt and soil, Overgrown is the very seed planted and watered by Joyce's life experiences.
Photo via Twitter
The mood of intentionality is seen simply with the album's decorated feature list. Artists such as Freddie Gibbs, Masego, Kaytranada, Lucky Daye, Westside Gunn, UMI, and more lend their incredible gifts to the project. Just from the track listing and guests alone, there is a deliberate force that is felt in the album. This is not just a string of features just selected for the fun of it.
Overgrown's suave opener, "Chandler" begins the journey as Joyce passionately bellows about the very things women have to endure in order to be given love. From this first song, listeners see exactly what time this young woman is on. Relatable for many women, she sings about giving time, money, and energy to essentially be treated and made to feel like they are not enough. The calm and collected D'Mile-produced record sets the atmosphere for the rest of the album with utter ease.
The pace increases swiftly on the mesmerizing, Lucky Daye-assisted "Falling In Love." For those unaware, the song is also on Lucky's Table For Two project that was released in February. A personal favorite, the song is clear - both Joyce and Lucky sing to their respective counterparts warning them not to play with their hearts. Their love is crucial and they don't want to regret falling for their significant others. It's something about the track that almost places butterflies in your stomach. Immediately following the warm duet, Joyce maintains the pressure on one of Overgrown's lead singles, "On One." Teaming with Freddie Gibbs, Joyce transparently sings about this person who no matter what, she seems to be unable to resist. Even when she's ready to cut them off, she can't seem to get herself to do it. Providing the male perspective, Freddie effortlessly delivers his verse with precision and style.
Another standout track arrives at the confident "Losing." Here, the theme of truth, revelations and realizations are seen as Joyce acknowledges her worth and what she deserves. She lets her lover know that ultimately they don't deserve her, they never did, and because they don't know how to handle her, that's exactly why they are losing her now. She's done and she's no longer willing to be toyed with. While the idea and the potential of her lover seemed enticing, she's now come back to Earth. On the other hand, the intoxicating, "You" finds Joyce slightly retracting her previous thoughts and going back-and-forth with her mind and emotions. While trying to fight off the desires of this lover, she seems to find herself doubling back to them. Whether it's lust, the comfort in familiar settings, or truly being in love, she can't seem to be freed from the shackles of this lover.
As the album progresses, listeners are greeted by outstanding interludes from Westside Gunn, Kaytranada, Devin Morrison, and Mndsgn. Again, the theme of intentionality is heavily felt through the both of these. While the interludes each differ from one another they seem to highlight similar layers within Overgrown such as sex, & divine timing, true love, and passion.
Vulnerabilities flare on the soul-hitting "Addicted." Here, Joyce wrestles yet again with her infatuation for a past lover. She knows ultimately she must let it go but her emotions and mind simply place this person on the forefront of her brain, especially during moments of deep loneliness. Much like a drug, she's addicted to this flame in her life. No matter how much she tries to push herself away, something brings her back (that same something Tyrese sang all those years ago). The same energy is felt on "Think About You" as she literally cannot release the thoughts of her partner from her mental.
On "Must Be Nice," Joyce request space from her partner. In order to get over him, she asks for space between them to free herself. That very taste of freedom satisfies her, bringing her peace and rejuvenation. She does not want to waste her time any longer. On the contrary, Masego informs her that if they take this time off, they will never rebuild how they should. Instead of taking a break, he suggests that he simply break her off and re-spark their love. In a way, it's a lovely yet toxic cycle that will never end unless Joyce cuts it at the very root.
As the album nears its end, listeners are greeted by another lead single, "So So Sick." Sampling Jon B's "They Don't Know," Joyce regains her self control and moves on from this toxic partner who refuses to reciprocate her love, time, and effort within their relationship. She informs him that he will never find anything or anyone better than her. In the end, her former lover now is "So so" sick because they have realized the gem that was Joyce, but it's now too late to reconcile.
On the album's closer, the album's title track, Joyce speaks to both herself and her listeners telling them not to lose the very essence that makes them. While nobody truly prepares you for the journey, you must continue to keep your faith. She encourages both herself and listeners reminding them that they will always be enough, they are loved, and they are beautiful. She magnificently sings about releasing yourself from uncertainty, fears, and worry. The wonderful production by Mack Keane elevates Joyce's voice to untouchable standards as she ministers to her listeners' spirits. With love, they're ups and they're downs, but what matters the most is that you remain true to yourself, never conforming for anyone.
In its core, Overgrown sounds much like an album that was carefully developed for three years. Each of the songs tell stories that translate into today's relationships and life experiences. There is a amplified level of genuineness and clearness that allows Joyce to easily connect with her fans and music listeners in general. Instead of being crippled and hindered by her mistakes and insecurities, Joyce revels in her truth. She takes control of her emotions and thus generates an unmovable presence of peace within herself. Again, being intentional she gives warnings to both old and new love declaring that her time is money and it is meant to be taken seriously. Overgrown is a true testament to self care/self-preservation, is enjoyable to listen to, and makes for a noteworthy, impressive debut release.
Listeners can stream Joyce Wrice's debut album, Overgrown here.