AOTY 2022
Joji - Nectar
Sep 27, 2020 (updated Sep 28, 2020)
I chose to listen to 'Nectar' as I haven't listened to much of Joji's music before and a lot of people have suggested his music to me, but I haven't really given it a fair chance. I've listened to some of his singles but I disliked it, probably because it sounded very different to any of the music that I have listened to. I wanted to give him another chance to impress me so after being a little more open-minded while listening to this album, it changed things completely for me and I absolutely loved the album.

The vocals on this album have some of the most variety I've ever listened to in an album and Joji managed to master the vocals on each song. He sounded different on almost every song and chose to change the way his vocals sounded based on what the beat required him to sound like. This lead to some spectacular, unique vocals that I've never heard before which was just beautiful to listen to. At times, he did unfortunately sound awkward and weird, but the average result of the experimenting and tweaking of his vocals were vocals that sound spectacular like I mentioned. The main problem that I noticed with his vocals were that Joji didn't really have a standard way that made his vocals recognizable as ‘Joji’s vocals’, which was a major problem that can be seen with almost all the artists in the 88rising label. I assume that I’ll become more familiar with their vocals as time goes on, but I can’t really get an image of how their vocals sound after my first listen to the album which is something I can usually do with most artists. Overall, Joji has tons of vocal variety which not many people in the industry have and it was interesting to see what he would do on each song, as each song had something spectacular and stunning that stood out in the vocals.

The production on the album was underwhelming but was also extremely unique. The beats sounded pretty basic in most of the songs which was surprising, but maybe I was just expecting a bit too much from the production after listening to Rich Brian and NIKI's recent projects which had the production stand out bright. One thing that I really enjoyed especially was the placement of the kicks/claps which felt perfect and complimented all the songs in the best way possible without ever sounding inconsistent. I also really liked how Joji adjusted to the beats, even if they weren't the best, as he always gave it his all and managed to take the track to a whole different level. If the production was a little bit more focused on adding extra features to the tracks, it would've added something special to the lo-fi feeling of all the tracks. I feel like lo-fi is something that hasn't been properly experimented in official tracks and it's known as a 'Soundcloud' thing so I really loved that Joji actually included that as the major theme of the production in the album, but I think that's something that caused his beats to sound basic. If he added a special touch to the production which the Weeknd did by was adding the retro effect, the lo-fi effect would've been evolved but sadly this is just regular lo-fi (not bad, but nothing too special). Overall, the production on the project was an exciting idea using the lo-fi effect as a huge theme but the idea didn't turn out to be the best it could've been as it was lacking a key feature that could move it away from the 'Soundcloud' lo-fi, but it was still stunning and a pleasant surprise to listen to as I love lo-fi.

The lyrics on the album were basic but incredible at the same time because of how he made simple words turn into something spectacular, similar to something Juice WRLD could do. Joji seems to have so much emotion in each word but not as much of energy which was weird as it's extremely difficult to do, but Joji managed to pull it off which helped contribute to the lo-fi effect of the album. Joji's choruses can be so soothing (matching the lo-fi theme again) but he also has many tracks on the album which have choruses that are filled with repetition that really bring down the potential of the picture that he's trying to paint with his lyrics. 'Daylight' is one of the tracks that really stood out at showing how relaxing his music can be, "Bad luck, I don't wanna be home at midnight, Sun's up, I don't really wanna fight the daylight". The two lines are so simple but at the same time some of the most soothing lyrics I've heard and is something I'd love to listen to in the middle of the night. 'Pretty Boy' is another one of the tracks with such a magnificent mood, "I'm a pretty boy livin' on the West side, Livin' so loud, you could never hear me cry, nay-ay, See no tears run down my eyes" shown in the three lines. A track filled with a lot of repetition is 'Gimme Love, "Gimme, gimme love, gimme, gimme love Gimme, gimme love, gimme, gimme love, When I'm gone, when I'm gone" but luckily the verses on the song are fueled with the desire of love, which makes it a decent song. Another tracked filled with a ton of repetition is 'Your Man', "Have you ever loved? Would you go again?. Don't be down when it's over, baby, yeah, I'll be your man, I'll be your man, I'll be your man" but the amount of emotions put into these words are unbelievable, and make this song something special. Overall, Joji focused more on the music and the way the songs sounded than on the lyrics, but there were some spectacular highlights in the lyrics which were extremely satisfying to listen to.

'Nectar' is an album that's going to change music. Joji is one of the most unique artists currently and he's completely making his own sound, different to anyone else. I feel like even if this album isn't a mainstream commercial success, it's a success for the industry of music as Joji is creating new genres as he creates more music. The features on this album are wonderful, especially Diplo's amazing production, Lil Yachty (Lil Boat (original version)) verse, and Benee's beautiful verse. The only feature that was weird was the Yves Tumor feature which didn't seem to be mixed properly or Joji was trying something new that didn't seen to work. I've heard people say that this album is a huge disappointment, but I don't agree, even though I haven't listened to his previous music, as this shows how artists can make great songs that sound different to anything before and that you shouldn't be afraid to experiment. The lo-fi pop songs in the album almost sound significantly (only the production lacks but it's still equal to the Soundcloud level) better than the Soundcloud lo-fi tracks. I loved this album and there isn't much that he could've done better other than put more effort into his production, maybe improve his lyrics a little by cutting down the repetition, and make an identity for his vocals so that his voice is easily recognizable.

88rising is an amazing label which seems to be focusing on the sound, rather than the amount of sales which is something I love as it may not bring success right away, but it will bring success in the future. The three artists that I've listened to that are signed to the label are Rich Brian, NIKI, and Joji. Rich Brian really has so much potential as he's young and talented, and if he has a little more money put into his career so that he can get some major features, it'll bring him the recognition that he deserves and the ability to go mainstream. NIKI has a beautiful voice but I feel like she needs a bit more development as she currently lacks lyrical ability and needs production with a little increase in quality. Joji is easily the most developed and complete artist who can easily be one of the greatest artists of the future generation in a few years with a little more recognition and a major hit. I wanna thank @TomBejoy for introducing me to all of these artists and this label, as I really loved listening to their music. 88rising is definitely rising and is currently one of my favorite labels, coincidently I also gave this an 88.

Overall, 'Nectar' is a wonderful new wave of music which develops the lo-fi sound with very good vocals filled with variety, disappointing basic production, and chill lyrics with a lot of emotion while also showing that Joji is a musical mastermind in the making.

Track Ratings
1Ew / 80
2MODUS / 95
3Tick Tock / 90
4Daylight / 100
5Upgrade / 20
6Gimme Love / 100
7Run / 100
8Sanctuary / 100
9High Hopes / 90
10NITROUS / 95
11Pretty Boy / 100
12Normal People / 100
13Afterthought / 100
14Mr. Hollywood / 90
15777 / 95
16Reanimator / 75
17Like You Do / 100
18Your Man / 100
Brilliant review man, I had similar thoughts.
@TomBejoy Thank you so much! :)
@Cry yeah
I acutally prefer NIKI and Rich Brian to Joji in terms of lyricism. But aesthetically and vocally Joji is the best, which is dope considering he wasn't really a serious artist but ended up the best (at least for now considering Nectar is the best of the three)
Plus for vocals you mean joji has versatility in vocal performances, right? Also, Joji actually has a huge cult hit, in the form of Slow Dancing In The Dark which is one of the best songs of the last decade. He's also one of the most popular solo artists of Asian/Australian origin. I think Joji needs to stick to producing more of his stuff because Wanted U, Slow Dancing In The Dark, Medicine, Run, I'll See You In 40 etc all have his production and sound brilliant as well. Also imo Joji is weaker than Brian and NIKI lyrically and in terms of general versatility. (Like you can see the other two trying their hand out at rapping/singing)
But for someone who's music was always a side career and the fact that Joji was nothing but a side character to his comedic lore makes his improvements extremely impressive. However the indie tonality and very humble nature of Chloe Burbank still makes it his best body of musical work even after 5 years and lo-fi trip-hop surging into generic status,
Actually, until Nectar dropped imo, Niki and Brian were always better than Joji every where. In Tongues and Ballads 1 are nowhere as good as The Sailor, Zephyr or Moonchild. Add to that the fact that Joji's like 8 years older than the two
Brian hit a weak point for both Head In The Clouds albums imo, because HITC1 was carried by Joji and HITC2 was carried by Niki (unfortunately that album sucks, the lead single is fucking hopscotch which is funny but also stupid)
I still can't tell which one of the three is a better producer. Most likely Joji because Brian although Amen and 1999 Are full of his beats makes a bunch of generic trap beats while George has a bit more of a unique touch. Niki on the other hand made a bunch of trap beats for her early songs but that's it. They sound a lot like Brian's beats off amen but I can't decipher between the two on which one inspired which.
Like Brian said "We don't aim it all but we hit all of the targets" and "Can't forget the day that sean called me talked bout a vision called 88 that he's dreaming" I think it's quite clear their working on the sound side post The Sailor. I could credit Rappy and Bekon for most of the changes, but props go to Sean and Brian themselves
All 88rising projects ranked imo that i have heard

The Sailor>Nectar>Moonchild>Amen>Ballads 1>Zephyr>Father>Wanna Take This Downtown>Hitc1>In Tongues>Hitc2
Yupp, completely agree that the other two artists are better than Joji lyrically. I'm surprised to hear that Joji was worse than the other 2 artists before this album though because I assumed that he had been making music for a while with tons of experience from the way he music sounded (and because he's wayyy older like you mentioned. I haven't heard a lot of tracks which were self-produced by Joji but I've listened to 'Run' which has lit production. I really need to listen to 88rising's label albums (HITC1 and HITC2), feel like the concept of the sounds spectacular. I don't see 1999 in all the projects ranked but that's an EP which is why you probably didn't rank it. I'd rate the best three from the projects I've heard Nectar>The Sailor>Moonchild but I guess I'm a little partial towards Joji because I strongly disliked him at first, but he managed to make me love his music which was so surprising. I really wanna listen to the Denzel Curry and Rich Brian song, that would be fireee.
@TomBejoy Yupp, I was referring to his versality in vocal performance which is just perfect!
@Cry true that. He reminds me of RIna Sawayama on Sawayama (that album is better though) with how the vocals sound different without a change in aesthetic. In joji's case it's moody and lowkey while the aesthetic on Sawayama is overblown, maximalist and retro
just realised you didn't like reanimator, sad. Yves tumor is a producer who does some vocals and sounds like psychedelic rock lil peep. Sure he was mixed badly but it's his beat. Check gospel for a new century and kerosene asap they are BANGERS
@TomBejoy Yeah, I still need to listen to SAWAYAMA. I've heard a ton of great things abt Yves Tumor but he was mixed badly like I mentioned. The beat was great, I really liked the production of the song but the mixing just ruined it.. Yupp, I'll try to check out gospel for a new centaury and kerosene soon.
@Cry definitely, hear all albums i rated 85-95 this year if you haven't trust me
@TomBejoy I have a huge music week coming up (in around 2-3 weeks hopefully) where I'll try to listen to all the 85-95 albums that you've reviewed.
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