• Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

Review: Biig Piig’s debut album Bubblegum is both balanced and exuberant

ByAnouk Menpes-Smith

Feb 6, 2023
A still of dancing at a club. The image is blurry so it is difficult to make out figures.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Jessica Smyth, aka Biig Piig, released her debut album on 20th January. The Irish singer and rapper has been making music for some years, with her breakthrough single ‘Vice City’ released in 2017. Since then, Smyth has released several EPs and enjoyed considerable success with her hit singles ‘Feels Right’ and ‘Switch’ in 2020. 

These latter singles definitely have a dance music feel, with strong beats and a drum and bass sound punctuating Smyth’s sharp lyrics. She certainly carries this influence in Bubblegum, which is most keenly felt in ‘Kerosene’ and ‘Picking Up’. The latter lead single is the only collaboration on the album, featuring Deb Never (who has collaborated with the likes of slowthai and BROCKHAMPTON), a singer who perfectly captures the diversity of Smyth’s sound. The digital production on the track perfectly matches the racing beat, which picks up in the pre-chorus. The slower verses allow for a build up which shows off both the singers’ vocals and the lyrics, which deal with chasing highs and “crashing ‘til I’m numb”. 

Whilst the album itself is short, only spanning seven tracks (which includes three pre-released singles), it manages to establish a range of tones by borrowing and fusing sounds across genres. Smyth blends aspects of neo-soul, electronica, and ambient music, found in tracks such as ‘Liquorice’. The song is mellow in tone, and very simply describes the feeling of falling for somebody, with the repeating riff “I wanna be the one you end up with”. A consistent bedroom pop feel is maintained through very crisp production and catchy melodies, particularly felt on ‘This is What They Meant’ and ‘Ghosting’. The latter track includes Spanish lyrics (Smyth is bilingual, having lived in Spain for much of her childhood), which adds an exciting dimension to a delicate melody. The final song on the album, ‘In the Dark’, is the only track on Bubblegum which really involves guitar, reminiscent of her previous songs such as ‘American Beauty’ on her 2021 EP, The Sky Is Bleeding

Smyth cultivates a distinctive and textured sound through a series of short and sharp pop songs, which she has clearly built on from her previous discography. She conveys the intensity of youth, self-discovery and contrasting emotions, with her dreamy vocals evoking a sense of comfort and nostalgia in her listener. 

Image “File:09 rave dancing motion blur experimental digital photography by Rick Doble.jpg” by Rick Doble is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.