- Linus Johnson
“Nectar” Does its Job
Joji’s second album Nectar is a solid, if inconsistent, release. Nectar has some good tracks, and it features a wide range of vocals, instrumentals, and harmonics. This dynamic range is highlighted in tracks like “Ew,” “MODUS,” and “Upgrade,” which hit the lo-fi, moody acoustic and piano themes from his well-received first album, BALLADS 1. However, in songs like “Run,” “Tick Tock,” and “Gimme Love,” Joji gets more ambitious, with stronger beats, more electric guitar, and a broader vocal range.
“Gimme Love”’s catchy, pop-inspired pulsing stood out to many listeners, and “Run” was just as instantly-memorable to me; its mix of electric guitar and more recognizable beats, as well as rock-inspired lyrics, make it a unique contribution to the whole of the album. “Daylight (feat. Diplo)” also hits some of these notes (with more bass and guitar), and its chorus is one of the strongest parts of the entire album. Diplo has a solid feature here - the lyrics for this song harmonize really well.
After this strong first half, things begin to go south. “High Hopes (feat. Omar Apollo)” is clunky, and its vocals are noticeably weak. “NITROUS” offers nothing special in a weak rehash of previous ideas, with a beat that doesn’t quite do anything different. “777” has some solid transitions and promise to it, but never seems to get anywhere. I found one of the worst offenders in this album to be “Reanimator (feat. Yves Tumor)”. While Joji’s songs do tend to have some form of build-up, the overwhelming majority of this track is thrown away on an odd, monotonous, and long synth tone. It’s boring, and it fails to take advantage of either Joji or Yves’s potential. It’s not all bad news, with “Pretty Boy” and “Mr. Hollywood” standing out near Nectar's end, but the second half is more of a letdown than the first.
Despite some of its mishaps, Nectar is overall a solid album, and Joji’s exploration of love, fame, and the pitfalls associated with both manages to hold up to - and build on - BALLADS 1. While it’s less than it could be, Nectar is still more than worth the listen.
Note: The above image belongs to 88rising and is used in low resolution solely to identify the album.