My favorites: Modus, Sanctuary, Reanimator, Like You Do
Listen if you like: 88Rising, Jaden, Kevin Abstract
Joji’s third project, Nectar, was released in late September. The ambitious 18-track album was highly sought after based upon his earlier releases, including tracks like “SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK” and “YEAH RIGHT” which helped the artist gain over 3 billion streams and the #1 spot on Billboard’s R&B Hip Hop Chart (the first Asian-American to do so). George Miller, known by pseudonyms Filthy Frank, Pink Guy, and Joji; first became noticed in the digital age through his Internet personality. He was known for years for his production of comic YouTube videos and comedy hip hop, but in late 2017 Miller switched gears to focus on music full-time and adopted the stage name Joji. Instead of playing a character as he did in years prior, Miller considers his Joji persona as being his true self. Joji released his first full album, Ballads 1, with Asian music label 88Rising. The music Joji produces and writes is often characterized under R&B or Hip Hop, but many fans consider his music to be genreless and unlike any other modern artists.
Nectar throws the listener into a whirlwind, self-described by the artist as “explor[ing] what every living being is innately drawn to and the ends they’ll go to reach it.” Like his previous work, the album defies a genre label. Joji explores a wealth of sound, utilizing synth-heavy backgrounds, light ukulele and piano melodies, and popular hip-hop baselines. The album’s ability to explore different themes, emotions, and influences adds a unique layer to it. Certain gems include loved-up ballad “Sanctuary,” melancholic track “MODUS,” and experimental electronic “Reanimator” featuring Yves Tumor. There is a lot to like within this album and I found while listening that each track appeals to a different audience type. The experimentation done by Joji on this album is indicative of a bright future for the musician, and certainly this album is continuing to propel his success in the industry. However, Joji may have had a little too much ambition when trying to create a coherent tracklist among the 18 very different tracks. While some of the songs have stellar production, vocals, and melodies; others falter slightly. Certain tracks are clunky and needed more development. Despite this, Joji has proven that within less than five years, he can continue to develop a coveted sound and loyal fanbase. The album was not perfect but is definitely worth listening for anyone interested in R&B, trip-hop, or anti-pop. I look forward to all that Joji has to offer in the future. Seeing his talent evolve and bloom is always a treat.