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Critiquing Albums Like I Could Make Anything Better: – NECTAR by Joji

Critiquing Albums Like I Could Make Anything Better: – NECTAR by Joji

This entry is part 7 of 12 in the series:
Critiquing Albums Like I Could Make Anything Better

Hello friends, welcome to the last of this series. After this, we can all put 2020, and it’s 5 best albums behind us. Congratulations.

Unlike all of the other artists’ I’ve reviewed in this series, I have not been a Joji fan for a long time at all. By memory, the first song I heard of his was ‘CAN’T GET OVER YOU‘, and I think it was just in the background of a video I was watching at the time. Since then, I have given a few of the songs on his 2018 album, “BALLADS 1” a solid listen, but the only ones that I keep in regular rotation are ‘YEAH RIGHT‘, ‘COME THRU‘, and ‘SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK‘. Moreover, the E^ST cover of SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK.

However, for whatever reason, I did listen to NECTAR the day it was released. I remember getting bored, unrightfully. I’m fairly certain every song is great on its own; I just found that 18 tracks, all of which share such a specific mood can be hard to listen to all the way through intently. That said, I did it! And here are my final thoughts!

Ew

The piano is so pretty and a really calm accurate way to start the album. Dreamy, sad, questioning. Sounds like the product of 2020. the chorus comes in, and it feels like floating in space, which I think is a great way to describe this album. This was one of my initial favourites, but it’s definitely a song you need to be “in the zone” to listen to properly.

MODUS

This one’s a bit more upbeat. The second verse is so fun to listen to. It sounds like a cute little lullaby at the start.

Tick Tock

I recognised the “OW” sound as a sample from Nelly’s Dilemma immediately – making it the best part of the song for my comfort-loving brain.

Daylight (ft. Diplo)

I listened to this song repeatedly for a few months last year, and it still isn’t old for me. I love the melody and the subtle dramatic production in the chorus, and the verses’ rhythm. There are some really interesting sounds in this song, so if you listen with headphones, PAY ATTENTION, it’s delightful as an auditory experience.

Upgrade

I love the lyrics on this track. It’s short and quite stripped back as far ass Joji goes, but I love it dearly.

Gimme Love

This one is also fairly upbeat, the lyrics are quite sad, but it’s a ‘dancing to stop yourself from crying’ banger. I love when the chorus breaks and the whole song gets very soft and reflective, and the harmonies and strings come in. It feels very cinematic.

Run

I LOVE the build of this song. The kind of increasing line of melody between the first verse and the first chorus. This track is again a massive representation of this album as a very reflective-sounding project. There’s an electric guitar solo near the end that takes me by delighted surprise every time and makes me want to hear rock covers of every NECTAR song.

Sanctuary

I SWEAR this song came out YEARS ago. I don’t know if it did, but it feels like it did. I remember really loving it for a few months, and it’s still great, I think I just overplayed it, and now it’s kind of a skip. “what you want is what i want, sincerity” is the highlight lyric to me. I love the bridge as well followed by the kinda “pause” moments. It’s definitely a track that keeps the listener interested the whole way through.

High Hopes (ft. Omar Apollo)

The crunchy sound you here at the start after the guitar (?) intro itches my brain in the exact right spot. I don’t really listen to the vocals on this track, but the production on it is probably my favourite thing that Joji’s ever done.

NITROUS

I don’t hate this song; it just seems a bit monotonous to me. Although that could be because I’ve listened to this album like 8 times to write this review and this is the last song I’m writing comments on right now. The ‘ting’ sound is nice.

Pretty Boy (ft. Lil Yachty)

This is the hype up song of the album, and it’s always stuck in my head. Listen to it while you get ready to go out. I promise it’ll be good for your self-esteem.

Normal People (ft. rei brown)

This is one of my seasoned favourites. It didn’t stand out to me until like the fourth listen, but don’t sleep on it. It’s one of those songs that suit any mood, and I love it lyrically.

Afterthought (ft. BENEE)

I love Benee, she’s never made a song that was anything less than a banger, so I was beyond excited to hear this track. This song kind of sounds how a rainy day in bed feels. Benee’s part comes in, and I eagerly anticipate the beat coming back in after her first line, that specific part releases some serotonin for no reason.

Mr. Hollywood

I find this song a bit too repetitive initially with no real destination to find it worth it, but I love the lyrics and vocals after that first bit. When he says “You’re not into me no more” the vocal editing makes my ears happy. I’m a big fan of little background vocal ad-libs, so the part at the end makes me happy.

777

This one is great to drive to. I don’t understand what he’s talking about, but he seems like a massive emotional rollercoaster on this track. It’s very anxious-sounding. There’s a sort of “arcade” vibe in ways reminiscent of the ’80s and like 2014 when electronic music’s reemergence integrated into pop came through. So I’m a big fan of that.

Reanimator (ft. Yves Tumor)

Okay, this one to me feels like a filler track. It seems very reminiscent of other tracks on the album, without bringing anything new in terms of it being its own song. It’s darker if you like that sort of thing. The way the vocals are done kind of frustrates me in the way that watered-down cordial does.

Like You Do

The wind chime sounds on this track alongside the stunning vulnerability of the lyrics create such a specific atmosphere, which I can’t pinpoint for my life. This could play in a TV show where a toxic couple says goodbye, but they have a “last dance”. It’s an end-credit song. Also, it runs for 4 mins and then cuts off suddenly at the end. Whether or not that was on purpose, I do not know. But I respect it.

Your Man

This is the only song on this album that could have been the final song. It’s a pick-me-up after the last few downer songs, and a re-hash of earlier themes, and sort of the twist at the end of the movie that suggests the possibility of a sequel. The production sounds like a European night club, and I love it. The robot-sounding vocal production at the end was good too.

Track Ranking:
  1. Daylight
  2. Run
  3. Normal People
  4. Sanctuary
  5. Your Man
  6. Pretty Boy
  7. Gimme Love
  8. Like You Do
  9. Ew
  10. Upgrade
  11. Afterthought
  12. High Hopes
  13. Tick Tock
  14. Mr. Hollywood
  15. 777
  16. MODUS
  17. NITROUS
  18. Reanimator

“Filthy Frank actually slaps,”

Tyneesha Williams

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