Alright, let’s get this out of the way – if your only knowledge of Joji starts and ends with the microwave challenge from 2019 – I need you to throw that so far out the window it’s a mere sliver in this artist’s story. Joji‘s new album, “Nectar,” encapsulates his artistry in one word: expansive. And it’s not just because “Nectar” is a sonic soundscape filled with versatility – Joji once boasted a successful YouTube career that catapulted the Harlem Shake to fame, he’s completely disrupted the music scene on TikTok, and he released his own limited edition pot of honey with this album, just because. None of it adds up, and yet for Joji, it all makes total sense.
Every track on Joji’s latest release feels infinite to me – I sincerely wish I had a surround sound system to fully embody the pulse of each track. Joji is excellent at brushing the surface of one musical element before rapidly diving into something else, switching from piano to trap beat on “MODUS” in the blink of an eye. Meanwhile, tracks like “Pretty Boy” hit peak energy on the album, spitfire and swift, but it doesn’t drop from there – that energy merely weaves its way down to “Like You Do” and strums on your heartstrings instead. That switch from pressure to pondering is what gives “Nectar” its juice, conjuring images of sounds that sprawl across hills and highways and fade into forever. It’s a swirl that’s easy to get lost in.
Overall, I felt melancholically cool listening to this album – a little sad, occasionally sexy, and definitely nothing I would expect from the guy whose songs accompany lighthearted fun on the internet. And that in itself is a hurdle – how do you establish yourself as a force to be reckoned with when you’re known for content that’s silly and playful? For Joji, it was easy: put something else out so dynamic that people have to get past their initial perceptions. Oh – and maybe pay a lil homage to the past year with a quick song called “Tick Tock.”