Strong 7 to Light 8
In the anticipation leading up to Nectar, I'm trying to review every Joji record. The last piece of the puzzle is Ballads 1, the record I finally realized Joji and Filthy Frank was one with.
Ballads 1 is a brilliantly produced album. A large portion of the beats are by Miller himself, however, co-production credits are galore.
The album begins on a very disappointing note with ATTENTION, a very boring, and underwhelming intro. The earrape portions are deafening and crappy.
From this to my surprise, the record goes directly to one of the best singles of 2018, Slow Dancing In The Dark. It's effortless to see Joji cruise vocally over this brilliant instrumental he co-produced. Test Drive is a bit generic but it lowkey slaps in the context of the album
Wanted U is breathtakingly good, completely self-produced and brilliant. It nails the core aesthetic that every song off Ballads 1 should've followed.
Can't Get Over You has Clams Casino produce a really fun beat, and it's a huge guilty pleasure of mine. Yeah Right is evidently self-produced. The lyricism is weak on all of these though, which brings us to the core issue of Ballads 1, the mediocre writing.
Aesthetically though, these faults are overcome with ease. Why AM I STILL IN LA is a personal favorite, the instrumental is eerie, haunting, and shockingly brilliant while Joji's falsetto adds an edge of horror to it.
No Fun is just another average pop track, I don't really get the hype. While Joji's vocals are a stark contrast from what you get today, the vibrant nature of the track does not mesh well in the tracklist
Come Thru and R.I.P are extremely forgettable, so is XNXX. The filler issue becomes apparent here. However XNXX is bad by no means, it's way better than the painfully boring others.
I'll See You in 40 is also produced by Miller himself, and it shines on the aspect of production creating a rather perfect outro to an uneventful record.
With all due respect, Ballads 1 does it's job in reinforcing Joji's presence in today's sphere of pop. However the aesthetic seems forced and unentertaining at time which eventually creeps into the main record. The two issues that are prevalent with this record are probably the amount of filler in the second half and the poor lyricism. However, aesthetically, this record is brilliant and delivers on what it was supposed to.
Hoping Nectar will build open on the core of this record and bloom Joji into a serious artist.