Lo-fi music is something I’ve never really been rather fond of. It’s always been a genre of music that I never really found the time to tap into. But, Joji’s “Chloe Burbank Vol. 1” is my favorite album of all time. From past experiences of listening to this project, following its release, looking up to the man behind the art himself, and just personally enjoying this absolute masterpiece, in my eyes, so it’s not a surprise as to how fond of the album I am. What makes this unofficial mixtape/compilation of music so special to me is how personal and relatable it’s content is in my perception. It’s an ode to everyone’s heart. It’s something I’ll cherish forever.
There’s this magic about this album that really draws you into its world of sound. Every single track has its own set of qualities. From pin-point sampling to simplistic yet complex percussion, that explores genres and veins of music from across the world, including plunderphonics and trip-hop, not to mention Joji’s angelic vocal lines being the icing on the cake, and his artistic abilities being unleashed to the fullest on almost every thing this project puts on the table, so much so that I can’t seem to find but quite simply, I’ve fallen in love, because this album has it all. For me, it’s devoid of any particular character and I’m probably more fond of it then most of this site.. It’s not something that seems to sit well with other people. When I tell other people that this is my favorite album of all time, they react in a way that bats a blind eye to my opinion.. It’s safe to assume they either failed to truly understand this body of work and it’s quality, or they don’t have it etched into their hearts the way it is for me. They never really got into the spectrum of this album’s production across the whole board. Despite hitting the surface unofficially through leaks even before Joji could finish his debut piece of work, what makes this album hit different is the appeal of Joji’s personality and evolution in character over the years. I always looked up to him as a role model despite his odd choice of career early on.. I’ll admit it, it’s a bias. But it’s a bias that I’m not specifically ashamed of, to say the least. I’m glad I can look up to a slightly divisive figure like him. I admire his work ethic, personality, mannerisms, and really a lot about him. Sure he’s not the most well-rounded human being around, but he’s obviously done a lot for his fans, so in return, I’ll support him throughout the rest of this musical phase, and whatever he strives to achieve beyond that. That’s the central appeal that quite simply; adds into the long list of reasons as to why I love this album. This is his most organic and down-to-earth album, period. All of it is self-produced and there isn’t a single feature despite it’s relatively long run time. It’s just him, not just him to be precise, it’s just one of his personalities, all on his own. It seems like an album that was made in his bedroom, aside from the madness and mayhem he filmed for the tube, no studio needed, no help from other people in the industry, just him. It’s oddly humble for a man of a pretty large stature as of late, and I admire that. I simply can’t find another album that struck me in a similar manner, and there’s a clear reason why. For the second time, the man himself, Joji. That’s why. You could write me off as a stan, but I clearly don’t agree with everything he says! Anyway, half of the reason as to why this project appeals to me is the appeal of the person behind it, but there’s no way I’m forgetting that the other half is definitely the music itself. The music itself is masterful to me. There’s nothing really that I personally feel the album lacks, whether in quality or quantity. A lot of people complain about the length of songs, but to my ears, this album justifies its length. The songs being short make it quite fun to listen to, a new wave of sound hits after the other. A lo-fi instrumental never really experiments outside what it’s based upon, so a longer song would, to put it frankly, be boring. The instrumentals themselves have a lot of fine details and effort put into them. This is just proof that Joji never needed 88rising or professional equipment or even features for that matter. I feel like he could’ve paved his own path. There is clear talent here. He’s created beauty in a seemingly empty/basic world. An album that really struck a chord with me is Ichiko Aoba’s “Windswept Adan”, these two are oddly related, mainly because they actually do bring out a whole new world through their sound, and not through the writing in particular.. But the thing that makes me prefer the oddly titled “Chloe Burbank” is how it seems like it revolves around the real world. Joji’s vocals aren’t exactly omnipresent on the album as they are on his later work. They do bolster certain instrumentals, and sometimes they do send the tracks into overdrive, and these tracks, solely in my opinion, are his best tracks, period..
But for the most part, there’s a lot of empty instrumentals. 60% of them are instrumentals, 40% with his own vocals. This is actually great because, oddly enough, it brings serenity to this world. And there’s nothing I love more than serenity because I like my peace! Anyways to get back on track, the vocals may not be present, but I really do like the balance between vocals and production. His vocals here aren’t his best of course, they definitely aged like fine wine as time passed, but I feel he sounds better than a majority of his vocal performances on projects afterwards (with certain exceptions). The reason is because his voice just meshes in with the production. The production actually seems like it was based around his voice. In his later projects, he seems to strain his voice, putting emphasis on them over the instrumentals, almost trying harder than he actually has to, which makes it rather rough-edged despite the precision associated with most pop music today. But this thing, holy shit man, this is great. There are certain magical qualities to this thing that click with me on every listen. Thank you, George Miller.
The official version of Chloe Burbank Volume 1 actually contains only 2 songs, but today I’ll be doing a track analysis of the unofficial fanmade compilation containing 23 tracks (not all, just the special tracks, which is most). If you thought the intro was long, well strap it and get ready for the rest. Here we go!
We first start off with the intro “Intro”. This is basically the tone setter for the whole album. It’s nothing special at all, but it’s not bad. I feel it basically tells you what you’re in for, which is what an intro should do. Also, it perfectly melds into the following track, which is the lead single, a.k.a one of the best songs he has ever made, “Thom”.
"Thom" is a show-stopper. It's a work of art of its own. Named after the craftsman Thom Yorke. The tune has it all! It has lo-fi, celestial vocals, and an astounding sample. At the center and end point of the sound, it has this incredible verse with blasting vocals and a perfectly point by point instrumental in the back. It's essentially a fight between the vocal, sample line, and production to be the most intense part. They all fall into place, establishing a hazy environment. It's practically similar to franticness in the end. At the outro of the song, it goes to a more laid back nice side, with a ukulele beat. Finishing it on a lighter note was the most grounded decision for a strong song like that.
The following melody is "You Suck Charlie" is a considerably more calm tune. With a solid opening like "Thom", we required some an ideal opportunity to quiet down a spot as this is lo-fi all things considered. It's all the more piano based, upheld with a snapping metronome, either that or they're 808's layered with claps. A shortsighted tune, however excellent. The piano matches his voice incredibly. The manner in which I picture this tune is him performing it in an extravagant eatery. Not very late around evening time, however not promptly in the day by the same token. Perfectly serene.
At this point, I’d end the review here, conclude my thoughts, because this is all to the project. Thom and You Suck Charlie were the ONLY songs on this project officially, but there are still quite a bit more tracks to analyze from that era, which I will be covering.
"Foie (Bump)" is a Lo-fi remix sampling the song "Juicy" by The Notorious B.I.G. This song quite utilizes the sample for its potential benefit. It fits very well, particularly with the pitch shifted voice. This and the following track is essentially a progress into the following song, which works. The album is taking a turn with this song. The sample improves this melody 1000%. It's truly remarkable and a very much done remix. Also, fun fact! The song's original cover is really an image of Cod Liver, and "Foie" means liver in French. The correlation between the song and the cover was never found, however it's still fascinating to me.
"Tears" is a 30 second break that reaches out off the beat of "Foie (Bump)". It's a calm closure of everything, except it is prepared to progress unexpectedly into the amazing, tranquil melody "Medicine".
Heartily graceful. Those are the two words to depict "Medicine". As appeared previously, Joji shows an interest in samples, and this is one of the primary instances of it in this album. Sampling from a song with the same name by "Daughters" from 2011, it ostensibly improves regardless of whether a similar example line just rehashes all through the tune. This is the second primary illustration of when a melody truly causes you to envision something. As far as I might be concerned, it's going through a sunflower field on a radiant day, however it's gradually getting hazier and more obscure for the duration of the day, eventually finishing, which is something you simply don't have any desire to occur. The completion of the track polishes off with the finish of the example, which is a lovely vocal race to end the melody off of.
That unexpected ending of that amazing day, obtains a significant amount of wealth into "Worldstar Money" where the remainder of your day is simply unadulterated despair. One of the only songs that came from this period to actually be released in an EP "In Tongues", this song is still exceptionally solid. I feel this song consistently felt more comfortable in this collection than the EP. It's more lo-fi based, with the ukulele, snaps, and drums, and not as watery as the remainder of the EP. It's a strong track, however when placed into Chloe Burbank, not as much any longer. It blends into the remainder of the quality here. The sample toward the start was absolutely phenomenal. I feel the beginning of the song with a tad of turmoil with a booming ukulele to nearly veil the hints of the fighting was wonderful.
On the off chance that any of the tracks can satisfy "Thom" and "You Suck Charlie", having the privilege to be the third track of the official album, it's "Unsaved Info". Despite the fact that being just 1 minute and 30 seconds in length, this could've fit on the official album, a transitioner between those two original. The only issue with this song is it's length. It's really short. It could've gone such a great amount of farther than it went, with it's delightful production and the hints of a koi pond out of sight.
"Lov U" and "Untitled" are two unique tracks, yet I feel the two of them are together in a sense. "Lov U" is another song with a sample, sampling the song "Sure Thing" by Miguel. The distinction from both of the tunes is the tone. The vocals were restrained a considerable amount, and Joji utilized his traditional lo-fi magic. Making the original song sounding considerably more depressive than it really is. It smoothly advances into "Untitled" which is an interlude into the following song with it's first and only collaboration on the album, "Besidju".
A light, however stunning song, collaborating with the artist Shamana. This isn't really Joji's song, it's released under Shamana. I do think this is quite possibly the most impressive sounding tune here with the assistance of Shamana, yet it doesn't generally fit the style of Joji It's great, however not actually fitting with all the other things. I can't really complain here, cause the following track is one of Joji's underrated tracks ever.
"They Don't Understand". A track I don't see many individuals truly thinking back on. It is so rich and elegant, it's insane. If I could pick any song that makes you envision something, it's this one. I think I truly love this melody due to an individual inclination, and I'll attempt to portray it as best as I could. If you didn't know by now, I'm Vietnamese, and I truly attempt to go to Vietnam as much as possible to visit my relatives that still live there. This song helps me to remember going into a vacant airport, earphones in, not playing too boisterously, however with the void climate I was in, it felt all the sounds were ricocheting off the walls into my ears. This tune truly embodies what I felt. This melody additionally doesn't actually show bliss straightforwardly, yet I was cheerful at whatever point I went to that airport, realizing I was drawing closer and closer to my relatives. Thinking back on this now, this strikes me harder than it did previously. I was going to go to Vietnam in 2020, however COVID-19 forestalled that. So thinking back on this now, it just makes me miss my family much more.
"Yung Michael" mentions to you what it is simply from the title. A young Michael Jackson, sampling vocals from the tune "Who's Lovin You" by The Jackson 5. On the off chance that there's any way that I can truly portray this track, it's The Avalanches. I may be going insane however I feel that this can truly make it look like an introduction to an Avalanches melody. The example was geniusly utilized, and seemed like happiness. A short however sweet track, to a greater extent a transitioner/recess, yet it generally speaking improves the collection.
The following formally released track is actually a song that is on the In Tongues Deluxe release, a tribute to his past music, yet as I would like to think, fits more with the "In Tongues" material. It's "Plastic Taste". A moderate dismal melody. This song was the principal illustration of Joji trying different things with new material after the entirety of his songs on Chloe Burbank. This was a definitive reason for moving into a newer style. It's increasingly slower than the rest. In spite of the fact that, I'm happy it's here, it doesn't really add a lot here, however it doesn't eliminate anything by the same token.
"Wefllagn.ii 5" is a fascinating song without a doubt. It was not actually released under the Joji alias, it was actually under the song title "We Fall Again" and on Pink Guy's debut comedy rap "Pink Season". It fits more under Joji's discography however as it is a lovely song. It doesn't fit incredibly well yet it's there. The following tune after that "XXX" has a similar issue with not fitting. Yet, god damn, I do adore it. It's a hard trap beat with an extraordinary sample. It isn't Joji's forte, however this song shows he has talent, and can be very diverse with his style.
"Misery" and "I Don't Wanna Waste My Time" as I would like to think, is a 2 song ending. "Misery" is like a "singing through the agony" kind of song. From the melody's sound, it seems like unadulterated euphoria, similar to "Medicine", tuning in to the verses to paint a more clear picture. When I envision this song, I consider simply unadulterated disorder, essentially rebellion, yet with one individual, with a ukulele, completely all alone in the center of the disarray, simply singing through it all. However, at whatever point it goes into "I Don't Wanna Waste My Time" it just goes into unadulterated devastation. I think this song was an incredible ender for this album. It adds the most of the primary components from the album into one melody. Something I never truly discussed was the name of the album. Chloe Burbank Volume 1. It's not their actual name, it's a mystery girl. It's completely been about a woman. The "Volume 1" also suggests there's a whole other part to the story. The ending of IDWWMT was demented, there's a lot more to tell. Despite the fact that there wasn't actually an direct follow up to this album, his later releases "In Tongues", "BALLADS 1" and "Nectar" truly stretched out off of the subject of his initial album through various different sounds.
To keep the ending brief, this is my favorite album of all time, not the best by any means, but my personal favorite. That magical feeling of the personal touch of your favorite artist just feels great, and that’s what this album is. It’s just Joji. I’ve adored this project for years, and nothing will really stop me now. Every single song I listened upon was released. They strike the same chord they do now. Every time Joji releases a new song or project, it makes me appreciate this album so much more. To see where he’s improved from it’s amazing, but honestly, this is still his best work. I feel he’s being held back by what he’s doing now. The down to Earth approach is something I adore and miss. I really like the path he’s going on now, but where he was before, I felt he would have stood his own in the industry. I’m proud of everything he’s become, and I’m glad he made the transition to music. His figure is so interesting to me, and I’m absolutely polarized by what he’s doing.
Thank you Joji, for everything.
Favorite Tracks: ALL OF THEM
Least Favorite Track: NONE
If you want to listen to this album yourself, which I recommend, here it is:
Hope you enjoy it, please let me know what you think of it.