- Release year:
Movement: Lo-fi, R&B, Pop
Lane: House of Balloons era The Weeknd, Omar Apollo, Gus Dapperton
From internet meme sensation to sad boy solo artist, Joji has proved that change can sometimes be a good thing. Before Joji was Joji, George Kusunoki Miller was known to many as Filthy Frank, an NSFW internet personality—spewing comedic, despicable and sometimes even offensive content on YouTube. One of Miller’s alter-egos, Pink Guy, is how his music career took off. With hits like “STFU,” “Nickelodeon Girls” and “Fried Noodles,” he fulfilled his meme potential at it's peak. But it wasn’t until 2017 where Miller would ditch his comedic career and take his talents to the musical industry.
Fast forward to 2020 and Miller has released his second studio album, Nectar, under the name Joji. Through past projects, In Tongues and BALLADS 1, we were introduced to Joji through songs featuring hip hop influenced lo-fi instrumentals reminiscent of Joji’s internet career but Nectar reaches beyond that.
With Nectar, Joji pays homage to all of his past work with elevated versions while experimenting with new sounds. Songs like “Upgrade” and “MODUS” shows flashes of Joji’s In Tongues, while “NITROUS” leaves hints of BALLADS 1’s “CAN’T GET OVER YOU” (both tracks are produced by Clams Casino). “Upgrade” is also a sharper In Tongues cut and “Pretty Boy” gives flashbacks to Joji’s days as Pink Guy (but we don’t talk about that).
The others introduce a new side of Joji, a more emotional side. Feelings of heartbreak and helplessness are only enchanced by Joji’s delicate falsetto, vocal layering and cinematic instrumentals through “Ew,” “Reanimator” and “Gimme Love.” Nectar also comes with sounds that can only be described as unexpected, through tracks like the “Daylight”(produced by Diplo), “777” and “Run,” which all provided upbeat instrumentals that were a huge contrast from Joji’s previous works.
The lineup of features on this project isn’t the strongest though, with the biggest names being rap sensation Lil Yachty, and Kiwi TikTok sensation BENEE. But vocals from Omar Apollo and rei brown do excellent jobs of fitting in and adding to the sounds of their respective tracks.
While some songs showcase tremendous growth in Joji’s music, that growth doesn't extend to all of them. While a track like “Ew” presents a cinematic and grand entrance with some stellar follow ups there are still a handful that can only be described as underwhelming to mediorce. Nectar is a marker of Joji’s growth but he’s still a few steps short of fully realized.
HEAT: Ew, Run, Gimme Love, Sanctuary, Afterthought, Mr. Hollywood, Like You Do