Joji’s second studio-album, ‘Nectar’ had potential but missed the mark
“Joji has definitely found a maturity and confidence that can be heard, even if he hasn’t completely found his footing.”
After a 2 year break since his debut album, BALLADS 1, Joji returns with Nectar, an immersive album touching on bedroom hip-hop, R&B, alternative, and so much more. In his typical genre-defying style, he hooks listeners in with the opening song “Ew,” a piano-based ballad leading into a cinematic soundscape with layered vocals. At 18 songs, the album runs long with filler songs like ("Tick Tock," "Reanimator"), though high points like the singles "Daylight" and "Gimme Love" help it to provide a unique yet consistent style.
After garnering so much hype after his debut, I had some high expectations going into this one. Within the first 4 songs, we get introduced to ballads, along with a collaboration with Diplo, which reveals the range of Joji. Later collaborations with Lil Yachty and rei brown don’t add much to the tracklist or overall vibe. Apple Music says it best when they write that Nectar “always seems to zig when you think it'll zag.” Instead of finding a clear path and direction for the album, Joji incorporates so many different elements and takes risks to the point where he becomes indecisive. The lo-fi distortions run through the album’s veins and connect each song, but that connection is held on by a thin thread.
Vocally, Joji encounters the same pitfalls as on BALLADS 1 and can be quite monotonous even singing about emotional topics. He adds nothing new to the conversation in terms of subject material; the 18 tracks primarily focus on industry pressures and relationships. In terms of personal experiences, I was pleasantly surprised by this release. Careful string arrangements and upbeat production ensure each song is successfully executed, even if they do not come together as a whole. Each risk he takes pays off a little bit.
Overall, the album could have been shorter and more enjoyable, but Joji has crafted a decent album that takes risks and defies genre every step of the way. Each song is unique and is made his own. Joji has definitely found a maturity and confidence that can be heard, even if he hasn’t completely found his footing. He has tremendous potential and once he becomes more decisive, I'm excited to see more from him in the future.
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