Joji demonstrates his artistry through new album “Nectar”

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Lauren Chen

Joji begins to fall into a predictable musical pattern in his new album Nectar

Ariel Wang and Megan Dhillon

Japanese artist Joji released his second studio album, Nectar, on Sept. 25, 2020.  Nectar features hit singles “Gimme Love” and “Sanctuary”, as well as collaborations, namely with Lil Yachty and Benee. Dropping after two years since his first album, “Ballads 1”, Joji reveals his musical versatility as a singer and songwriter.

Joji, aka George Kunoski Miller, started his unique career path as a full-time Youtuber. Previously known as Pink Guy and Filthy Frank, Miller gained a reputation for showcasing his multiple personas through shock humor. Since then, he has retired from his channel to seek a new career as a musician. After releasing hit singles “Sanctuary”, “Run”, “Gimme Love”, and “Daylight” in the summer and spring of 2019 and 2020, Joji published the rest of the songs in his long-awaited album, Nectar. 

“Ew”, the opening track of Nectar, provides insight into Joji’s own confounding experiences with love, where he questions how to love and how to let go. Reflective of the melancholy piano throughout the track, Joji mourns the possibility of being alone for the rest of his life.  

In contrast to the opening song, “Tick Tock” strays away from the smooth and grandiose presentation as Joji experiments with the first verse, introducing his lower vocals while he raps. In the second verse, Joji reveals his struggles with balancing work and love, as he sings “Wanna be a big shot / Should’ve stayed away / But always had a weak spot”.

Joji’s album showcases beautiful songs that reflect the true diversity of his ability as a singer, but some fell flat, feeling monotone and repetitive.”

“Pretty Boy” featuring Lil Yachty changes the direction of the album with its shift to a more upbeat pace with fulfilling vocals. The happier tone, however, is contradicted by the dark, serious meaning behind his lyrics. Joji and Lil Yachty confess the power of deception behind drug usage and highlight the importance of self-improvement. 

“Upgrade” ended up being a true downgrade from Joji’s usual style, reflecting a monotone, elevator-music tone. Although including a beautiful piano flourish and instrumentals, this is distracted by Joji’s flat voice that make the song overall feel boring. 

Joji’s transparency is consistent throughout the album, notably shown in the song “Modus”. Through “Modus”, he addresses the struggles and issues that comes with taking drugs, antidepressants in particular. “Sorry you can see it in my retina / Focus in and out, I’m doing better / Artificial ghost with no perception”. Although the message behind this song is compelling, Joji fails to complement his expressive lyrics, and instead produces a monotone, repetitive melody. 

Joji reflects his usual melancholic tone seen in previous albums in his song, “Normal People” featuring Rei Brown, where he injects stunning vocals combined with a slow, strong bass tone. Rei Brown’s soft voice contrasts with Joji’s deeper tone, which together create an impeccable harmony.  “Normal People” references how fame changes a person, refracting their view of life and themselves through the lines, “It’s hard to believe sometimes / We can pretend we’re normal people”.  

However, Joji’s talent falls flat in his song “Your Man”, a pop-centric song that lacks the usual diversity and intense passion usually seen in his songs. The repetitive upbeat tone wasn’t expected from the closing song of his album, subsequently making the album as a whole less impactful. 

Overall, Joji’s album showcases beautiful songs that reflect the true diversity of his ability as a singer, but some fell flat, feeling monotone and repetitive, which overall threw the tone of the album altogether.