Joji, the Japanese singer-songwriter and former Youtube personality, released his second studio album “Nectar” on Sep. 25 under the 88 Rising record label.
“Nectar” is an experimental pop album comprised of sad love ballads. With a strong connection to online culture, Joji strives to find a meaningful connection in a romantic relationship.
Before he was Joji, George Miller formerly made music under the aliases Filthy Frank and Pink Guy, releasing his first album titled “Pink Season.” The characters Miller had created were the “embodiment[s]of everything a person should not be” (Joji, Filthy Frank Youtube Channel “About” Page), and he ultimately quit due to mental health reasons—the result of toxic fans who took these personas seriously. This series of events, although discouraging, gave Miller an opportunity to start his new musical career as Joji.
We can hear similar aspects of the album “Pink Season” on “Nectar,” specifically on the songs “Tick Tock” and “Pretty Boy.” These similar creative decisions can be seen in the use of a vocal sound effect, adlibs, and raw sounding string instruments scattered throughout the tracks.
Throughout the album, Miller shares his perspective on the aspects of a previous relationship, whether it be breaking up for the better, coping with pain, rejection, or other bad aspects that could possibly come with a relationship.
When discussing the album name, Joji describes a meaningful connection of coming up with the album name with something that doesn’t seem meaningful at all.
He says, “Originally [the title]was based on finding dead ants in my freezer and joking about calling the album ‘Nectar’ after that, but I was trying to put a lighter spin on it. At the end of the day, every life form is chasing something,”(Joji, GQ Magazine).
Joji manages to connect that “something” to his personal takes and experiences on romance.
While all of the songs each fit to the theme of “Nectar” in their own way, some songs just don’t have much to them or have little that makes them stand out. This is an ongoing problem throughout the album, as there’s pretty vocal and instrumental progressions, but they can sometimes sound the same.
After track 10, “NITROUS,” there’s a noticeable dip in originality and quality of the songs, with them sounding repetitive and mediocre at points, such as “Pretty Boy”, “Mr. Hollywood” and “Your Man.” The ending tracks of “Nectar” such as “Like You Do” and “Your Man” come off as lackluster and boring, which is an unfortunate finisher to a generally good album.
Despite these shortcomings, Joji’s tracks are either incredible or mediocre, with amazing vocal progressions on “RUN,” whimsical and pretty instrumentals on “MODUS,” catchy choruses on “Gimme Love” and “Tick Tock.” Miller has really improved upon and perfected his style of depressing love ballads compared to his previous album “BALLADS 1” from 2018.
Overall, I would have to give “Nectar” a score of a 7.5 out of 10 points overall. Joji’s tracks manage to capture a strong emotional feeling while remaining catchy too, succeeding the most when utilizing his unique style of depressing, sometimes edgy, but melodic songs that touch on topics to which most listeners can relate.