Album Review: Nectar by Joji

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George Miller, or more known by his stage name, Joji, is a Japanese singer and songwriter. He first gained popularity through the persona Filthy Frank on YouTube. He eventually walked away from his comedic content and started to focus on ‘Joji’, which was music that he wanted to create. He really gained popularity with the track, SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK and it was on his debut album, Ballads 1. Joji returns with his sophomore album, Nectar.

The first track from the album is Ew. It opens up with a piano that keeps on repeating it’s descending arpeggio notes. You have his soothing vocals, as well as some layered vocals thrown in at the beginning. The track opens up a little bit more with some typical pop and electronic notes here and there, but it’s mostly a quiet track. On this track, he seems to be talking about previous relationships and how they don’t value his worth.

MODUS has a similar opening compared to the previous track. You have your regular piano, but it’s layered a bit better with the strings, and the trap beat that eventually comes in. If you’ve ever heard of the artist SBTRKT, this definitely has a similar feeling when Joji comes in with his vocals. Joji continues to play off of the feeling of the other track and talks about how he feels like he isn’t enough, whether that be for his relationship or his career.

Tick Tock is a quick, but very fun and catchy track. There’s also a nostalgia that comes with this track since he featured the ‘aw’ sound from Nelly’s Dilemma, which is probably why this is a favorite of mine. As I said, this is a short track, a little over two minutes, which is disappointing since this is one of the first catchy tunes on this album. This track talks about the subject of time and how this girl is starting to slip away from him.

Daylight was actually one of the last promotional singles for this album, and I must say I am a huge fan of this track. This does sound like a typical, high production pop track, but Joji really puts his emotion and talent into this track, especially during the chorus of the track. This track continues to move with the concept of a dark and painful album for him. He talks about the end of the relationship and how it’s been a struggle for him.

Upgrade is the shortest track on the album, just clocking in at a minute and a half, on the dot. It opens up with quite the grand and loud piano part at the very beginning. It does quiet down with a relaxing guitar part and simple percussive beat. Not really digging this beat, especially with the vocal harmonies at the end. Again, we are getting the same feeling from Joji and his confusing love life. He wants this person to stay with him, but she seems to be ignoring the feelings.

Gimme Love is another upbeat and exciting track. I’m sure quite a few of you have probably heard this track at one point or another. It opens up with a joyous chorus of voices at beginning repeating, ‘gimme, gimme love’. The instrumentation is pretty simple, but actually pretty fun with the synthesizers and clapping in the background. It does change up halfway through with a slower, piano, and more emotional section. You have a guitar outro to end the track.

Run starts off with a darker and more strange guitar part. This was also one of the earlier singles we got from Joji, but it’s definitely a powerful track. The slow and dark guitar part eventually builds up to the chorus where Joji just lets loose on his vocals, as well as the instrumentation. I’m getting some mixed emotions from him on this track. He knows this person isn’t in love with him anymore, but he seems to be accepting the fact. The guitar solo towards the end is kind of reminiscent of the 70s and 80s guitar solos, which is a nice touch to the track.

Sanctuary was the first promotional single for this album, and was released back in 2019. This track basically showed us of what was to come with his second album, Nectar. It’s definitely not one of my favorites however. The weird synthesizers that are added to random parts of the track just don’t seem to mesh together well. The only saving grace are his high-pitched vocals that mostly appear during the chorus of the track. There are some vaporwave-like sounds that appear, mostly towards the end.

High Hopes opens up with a beautiful guitar section, and there are a lot of parts to like about this track. On top of the guitar, you have a laid back percussive beat that isn’t overpowering, but it changes the direction of the track. Omar Apollo is also a nice addition to this track, and it’s very similar in tone to Joji’s. High hopes could be a reference to hoping this girl is actually into him, but it is a little difficult to tell on this track.

NITROUS is another quick, just over two minutes in length, track. This also features one of my favorite producers, Clams Casino, so check him out if you haven’t yet. While the beat is so simple, his voice fits perfectly over this track, however his voice is versatile and can fit over almost anything. You just have these washed out and reverbed synth notes that are repeated through the track. NITROUS seems to refer to different types of vehicles and how the pain makes him feel.

Pretty Boy has a strange and not expected collaboration with Lil Yachty. I do enjoy the trap infused beat and having Joji sing over it to give it a unique sound. I do have to admit that the break section is a bit cheesy though. While this isn’t even close to being one of Lil Yachty’s top features, I’m just glad that the two have worked together. On this track, Joji seems to be doing a lot better and accepting the fact that he’s living a great life.

The last track leads to a somewhat lackluster track, Normal People. I honestly wouldn’t have put these two tracks next to each other. I wonder if I would have enjoyed this track a bit more if it was placed elsewhere on the album. It just seems to do a 180 with the soft piano and percussive notes. It does have a bass in the background, but it just seems to subtle to make any difference. This talks about how people try to go back to normal after a break up and just stop talking to each other.

Afterthought would have probably been a better follow up track after Pretty Boy. The beat just seems more upbeat, and a better transition than having Normal People. Benee is also a decent feature on here since her vocals match with Joji’s high pitched vocals. On this track, Joji seems to be reminiscing about the time with his ex and wondering if she still thinks about him. He doesn’t want to forget about her, but doesn’t know if she feels the same way.

Mr. Hollywood is supposed to represent Joji, or at least how his ex viewed him. He rose to fame with his track SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK which propelled him into the spotlight and gain some new fans. While it brought him into the spotlight, he wants to promise his ex that the fame hasn’t gotten to him and that he is still the same person. However, his ex seems to be viewing him differently than how he views himself.

777 opens up with some high-energy synths and electronic notes. It does seem to open up a little, but it takes some time. The triple-sevens could represent getting lucky since you normally see those numbers at a slot machine. It just seems like a strange track with the several directions that it takes throughout the duration of the track. He talks about going and living a fast life, and wanting to go fast with this girl, which could represent several different things, but I will say that he might be ‘getting lucky’.

Reanimator features a funky and distorted synthesizer, but definitely sets the tone for a banger of a track. Hearing the opening of this track definitely made this a favorite of mine. The synths are just all over the place in terms of effects, but it does have a groove going on. You also get an electric guitar added to the mix later which just adds to the crazy layers of the track. This is also the same name of an Everything Everything album I reviewed, so check that out if you haven’t already.

Like You Do marks the longest track on the album and its exactly four minutes in length. It features a strange synthesizer that continues to make itself known throughout the track. It goes back and forth between high intensity and low intensity. It’s definitely another emotion filled track with Joji singing his heart out. He talks about how these other people he has been talking to aren’t the same as his ex-lover that he has mentioned throughout the album.

The last track from the album is Your Man. Just like the last few tracks, it does feature a synth, but it does sound a bit more normal than what we have heard so far. As the track builds up, it’s definitely a dance-heavy and 80s inspired track. It’s a perfect closer to the album, not too overpowering, but leaving on a positive note. This seems to be Joji leaving his previous relationship in the past and finally finding someone new.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Favorite Tracks: Tick Tock, Daylight, Gimme Love, Run, Pretty Boy, Mr. Hollywood, Reanimator, Your Man

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