Label: 88rising Records/Warner Records Inc
Non-Airable Tracks: N/A
Joji has been in the world of producing sad indie music for quite some time now, and he has made a reputation for himself to be one of the best artists in this genre. His last album Nectar hit all the right spots, so I was super excited to give this one a listen. His newest album SMITHEREENS captures his melancholy, hopeless romantic vibe perfectly. This album is most similar to my favorite Joji album, Nectar. His quintessential somber voice creates so many emotions in every single one of the songs off of SMITHEREENS. The album is theoretically a double album because it has two discs. Besides just having two discs, the album is divided into two, the second disc consisting of the songs in all caps.
Disc 1 of the record consists of mostly slow sad songs, and opens up with his hit single from last year "Glimpse of Us." Most of his songs in this have simple background instrumentals and the lyrics in this first part remind me a lot of BALLADS 1 as well. "Die for You" and "Feeling Like the End" are probably the best produced in the first disc, his mellow vocals and soft melody lead me to just be obsessed with these songs. He puts so much emotion into everything that he writes, and you can hear it through his voice as well.
Disc 2 gives a slightly different vibe, with more complex background instrumentals, and a faster tempo than Disc 1. My favorite tracks off the whole album are included in this disc. Joji uses electronics and synths in "NIGHT RIDER" and uses a lot of choppy background beats to create a somewhat experimental song. His flow in this song is more rap based at the start of this song then he goes into his normal singing voice. This song I think taps into the essential Joji sound that he has coined for himself. He still allows the background instrumentals to not overpower his voice, but still, be present and be able to reel the listener with his vocals. "BLAHBLAHBLAH DEMO" has a simple composition mostly including a guitar and drums as per usual, but it is a slower song. "YUKON (INTERLUDE)" is my favorite track off the whole album, and Disc 2. Although this track was released before the actual album was released on November 4, 2022, I feel like it pulled the album together. The lyrics are moving, and the background instrumentals are very engaging to the ear. He uses piano and synth largely and incorporates all the different sounds already included in the album to create the perfect song. I included the music video to "YUKON (INTERLUDE)" below. The last song in SMITHEREENS, "1AM FREESTYLE" is moving in its sound, and content. His lyricism is much like the songs in Nectar, specifically the songs "Ew" and "Sanctuary" which were released in 2020.
This album was an absolute pleasure to listen to. I would say that SMITHEREENS is one of Joji's best albums, and may be number 2 on my rank next to Nectar. Joji's experience within the indie music industry has allowed him to expand on his current talents to become even better with every album he creates. I am so excited for the next album/EP that Joji drops and any collaborations he has in the future. I would rate this album a 4.5/5.
Reviewer’s Name: Fae Campbell
Date of Review: November 6, 2022