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  • Andy Mockbee

Review: "damaged" - Junryl

Junryl had a challenge set out for him: how to follow up his splendid debut album, Dreams. The 2022 project practically bursted with energy, leveling up on all the qualities that made his 2020 EP similarly notable. A sparkling dance-pop gem like "fool for you" made the insecurity and self-doubt of a flailing crush sound blissfully fun. On his first single since Dreams, however, Junryl leans further into the mid-tempo blues of ">friend<lover." The LA-based singer/songwriter's latest single, "damaged," is a dynamic and electronic power ballad with raw, confessional lyricism. The sound is noticeably sharper, clearer, and more deftly mixed — a testament to his continuous growth as an artist. Gorgeous layers of vocals expel raw feeling, reinforcing the strength of Junryl's emotionally articulate lyricism.

The immaculate production creates tidal waves out of subtle nuances. Grounded by a simple chord progression, the piano plays a dynamic role in forming the sonic backbone. Reverse pre-delay, reverb, and phasers are combined to transform straightforward chord playing into a unique and stunning instrumental addition. But "damaged" is far from a pure piano ballad. The layered background vocals behave almost like atmospheric synths, perfectly mixed and mastered with the instrumental. "I guess I never learn / From all the bridges that I burned," he sings on the arresting chorus. There's no doubt that Junryl is returning as an artist both changed and elevated since we last heard from him.

Prior to beginning his professional career in music, Junryl achieved incredible success as a hair stylist, winning Newcomer Stylist of the Year in 2017 from the North American Hair Styling awards. A passion for music, however, always ran in his blood. Honing his songwriting since the age of 16, Junryl has captured audiences through his sincerity, vulnerability, and craft. With an EP and an album under his belt, the LA-based artist has laid a polished and fascinating foundation for an ever-growing music career. His catalogue already features a versatile range of sound: from the pop-punk blitz of "fuck up the friendship" to the sugary, R&B-infused pop of "Love Drug." His latest single, "damaged," is the singer/songwriter's first since the release of his debut album in 2022.

Written By Andy M.

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