Here we are everyone, the biggest release day of 2020, September 25th!
For myself, I’ve been waiting quite a long while for today. Godlike Sufjan, the IDLES warriors, Deftones - the bringers of death, and even more. Along with all of these amazing acts, we have my absolute most anticipated, Joji’s sophomore release “Nectar”.
I will now proclaim this record as mine. This belongs to nobody else. Trey-core. Don’t touch.
It’s common knowledge that I’m a Joji stan. Every chance I get, I tell people “Hey, I gave Ballads 1 a 9.9. Did you hear I gave Ballads 1 a 9.9? Oh you haven’t heard Ballads 1? Okay time to not talk to you anymore.” His debut (did you know that it’s called Ballads 1?) is not only one of my favorite records from 2018, but one of my favorite musical statements of all time. An homage to sad-boy bedroom/alt pop, the record is subtle in the way it presents his fragile emotions and lyrical abilities. The listener can tell how his voice isn’t the best it could be or how the compositions aren’t as fleshed-out as they could be. It’s that emotional and technical rawness that sticks out to me and truly pulls me into the record. All of the songs are sticky as hell, the chord progressions are bittersweet. Everything about it feels like it speaks to me in the most vivid way. With my expectations so high for his follow-up, I could only imagine what types of sonic landscapes he would explore.
In essence, “Nectar” is as sweet as honey.
The tracklist is long-winded in form, but breezes by surprisingly quickly. Each of the tracks act as short movie scenes, snip-its from rom-coms and dramas of Gen Z: heartbreak, revenge, loss, and gaudiness. With heartfelt and bittersweet lyrics that soar over these themes, it’s easy to see how Joji has emotionally progressed over the past 2 years.
And those stylings and themes come in such a variety over an 18-track record like this one. Cuts such as “Ew”, “Like You Do”, “Normal People”, and “Afterthought” cash in on these nuances of lost love and melancholic nature, bringing in some of the sultry elements of his performance. All the instrumentals are lucious, creamy, and pillowy. These pair beautifully with some of the best pop bangers of the year, 808 and hi-hat forward: “Daylight”, “Run”, “Sanctuary”, “Pretty Boy”, “Gimme Love”. It’s this juxtaposition that gives away my absolute dying love for this LP.
I can’t deny that this is the stan in me talking, but I will say that I am blown away yet again. I wish I could do this album more justice with my words. Joji’s growth as an artist is impeccable, setting himself apart from other solo pop artists with that lo-fi twinge he adds to every song appearing here. The future is bright for the young musician, formula mathematician, future wizard, the vibe genius himself.
Edit: Felt the need to put something down here to justify the present rating. Unfortunately grew off me, especially some of the filler here. Won't deny MODUS, Run, Sanctuary, and Like You Do are some of his best tracks.
|1||Ew / 70|
|2||MODUS / 70|
|3||Tick Tock / 40|
|4||Daylight / 70|
|5||Upgrade / 60|
|6||Gimme Love / 60|
|7||Run / 80|
|8||Sanctuary / 80|
|9||High Hopes / 30|
|10||NITROUS / 40|
|11||Pretty Boy / 60|
|12||Normal People / 50|
|13||Afterthought / 50|
|14||Mr. Hollywood / 50|
|15||777 / 40|
|16||Reanimator / 30|
|17||Like You Do / 70|
|18||Your Man / 50|