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Album Review: guccihighwaters shines with sophomore album ‘joke’s on you’



Ireland-based artist guccihighwaters kicked off the new year with the release of his second studio album jokes on you on January 22nd, 2021. It has been nearly four years since his first album post death was put out into the world. Releasing EP’s and singles throughout this gap, it is evident how the emotional depth and lyrical capacity in his music only continues to grow over time. Over the past 8 months, guccihighwaters has been teasing the release of the album by dropping singles “rope”, “expectations”, “straight jacket”, and “hold somebody.”

jokes on you features 14 songs, beginning the journey with track “tragedy.” This track is a heart-wrenching comparison of heartbreak to that of death with leisurely-played piano and touching harmonies. The artist pours his emotions into the formation of a hypothetical storyline where a previous relationship left a lingering misery–an anguish so intense that it feels like it left a hollowed out shell of himself. The second track is titled “hold somebody” featuring Canadian musician Powfu and musical artist Sarcastic Sounds. This track was guccihighwaters’ final single that was released before the album. The song recounts the frustration that follows watching someone hurt themselves and treat their mind and body with abandon, not being able to do anything about it. Sarcastic Sounds contributes to the song with the slowed-down beat and Powfu with their passionate vocals.

The third track “rock bottom,” features American singer nothing,nowhere. The premise of the song reflects the title itself, as one would assume. But, guccihighwaters and nothing,nowhere combine their unique talents to produce a story that describes a situation where two individuals are equally contributing to a toxic cycle of holding each other back and keeping them from rising past rock bottom. The upbeat rhythm balances the dark theme with a catchy beat. The fourth track is a remix featuring musical artist convolk. The track, titled “highschool”, is a reminiscent piece about longing for someone who used to be a familiar face in the consistency of everyday school. The track features convolk toward the middle of the song, fervently expressing the frustration of yearning for someone who used to be in your life.

The next few tracks take a break from the collaborations and pivots to guccihighwaters lonesome in relation to stripped down vocals and individual storytelling. Track five “sometimes” flows seamlessly into a harmony over a subtle tapping beat. guccihighwaters conveys self-deprecation in light of someone else’s expired presence. Track six “true 2 me” exudes confidence in rhythmic bass and lighthearted, subtle digs in the lyrics at those who doubted the artists abilities. The seventh track on the album, “straight jacket,” was the third single released before the album. The piano quickly leads into a fast tempo as the lyrics express feeling suffocated and restricted in one’s own thoughts. 

The next track is titled “lovesick” featuring musical artist Ellise. Ellise introduces the track with her soothing voice and setting the tone for a relaxed track, but as the beat drops, guccihighwaters comes in with his profound lyrics regarding a broken love that goes in circles. The next track, “intentions”, launches with captivating violin playing and transitions into a slowed, emotional rendition about the singer’s misunderstood intentions. The harmonies enhance the touching complexity of the lyrics. Track 10, “catch-22”, inhabits light guitar, harmonizing vocals, and appealing rhythm to cultivate lyrics expressing the feeling of hanging by a thread.

The following track is titled “coming down.” The track unites the electric guitar and an echoing beat to relay the vexation in being someone’s second choice. guccihighwaters concludes the song with stripped-down elements of deep-toned vocals and the remnants of the beat. Track 12, “expectations” is a fitting song to follow “coming down” as it outlines the expectations that come along with relationships and reliance. It can strenuous on the mind to be let down due to high expectations and guccihighwaters relays this feeling flawlessly through his detailed lyrical ability and expression of emotion in the musical elements.

The second to last track on the album, “won’t let in” (featuring musical artists softheart and laeland) exudes emotional intelligence. All three artists contributing to the track vocalize the struggles of letting emotions overtake your every thought. The slowed-down beat and soft piano contribute to the sorrow in attempting to break through being in a dark place. The final song on the album is titled “rope. This track conveys the unfortunate tragedy of someone taking their own life. “rope” wraps up the art that the album in its entirety contains by expressing the ins and outs of the complexities of emotion. In this song specifically, it is grief and unbearable pain.

joke’s on you places a focus on the most vulnerable, intimate parts of guccihighwaters’ mind. His ability to depict a wide range of depth and emotion in his music is a rarity. The musical talent and individuality in each track is what excels him in his career and the music industry.

Listen to joke’s on you here.

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