Joji
Ballads 1


4.0
excellent

Review

by Conmaniac CONTRIBUTOR (70 Reviews)
November 13th, 2018 | 64 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: would you like to dance with me? and can I cry on your shoulder?

For an album so uniform and straightforward, it’s surprisingly tricky to properly analyze Ballads 1. For fear of sounding like a broken record, I’ll put the artist’s past behind; it’s safe to say that by now Joji wants to be considered 100% serious in his music endeavors, yet unlike the placid In Tongues he is no longer battling for this approval. This is an album sure of itself, a watery concoction of soothingly sweet R&B blues and a bitter shot of misery thrown in, careless for how strong the mixer may taste afterward. Luckily, this blend of sadboi croons and sleek, flowy production is easy to consume (almost too much so). This is all to say the record is masterful in its lense of downtempo pop flairs and confident in its place within the music realm.

Take the opener ‘ATTENTION’ for example; the piano-led beat is subtle at first, letting Joji introduce his recurring theme of love-stricken doubtfulness. A quick turn in production elevates this track when the intentionally blurry bass flies in, consuming Joji’s own words with its snarl and fuzz. It’s convincingly catchy, allowing for possibly the best 1-2 punch on the album as the fluttering, chillwave single ‘SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK’ quickly follows with a newfound sense of sparkling business and clarity, allowing for a naturally developing climax to overwhelm its listener. The song falls in between a strange Venn diagram of anthemic pop and cry-inducing club music. And although the album does slip in some questionable jabs of radio wave insertions (most notably Trippie Redd’s ‘R.I.P.’ feature), I’d argue it’s only natural considering Joji’s sound and persona.

To say the album is simply just a pop excursion would be discrediting its risks and originality, however. Songs like ‘WANTED U’ and ‘COME THRU’ dive into darker territories, featuring dirt ridden emo guitar riffs and low-end brooding bass lines respectively. In his arrangements, Joji continues to expand his own style through varying structures and contrasts of instrumental passages. Aided by glitch hop producer Shlohmo, ‘WHY AM I STILL IN LA’ bookends a chugging, distorted guitar/bass crescendo with softly sung falsettos, allowing Joji to shine within foreign grounds. Even the long-winded closer experiments in the same manner, this time having two ukelele passages combed with Joji’s own distorted vocals glued endearingly to each side of a Slow Magic-inspired downtempo, future bass adventure. Its psychedelic-kissed, spacious production soothingly fits the downtrodden vocal style Joji often employs and proves to be a solemn end to the 12-song album. Ballads 1 doesn’t hide anything with its title; the entire album feasts on the slow, melancholy form and sometimes attempts to mangle it for its own benefits. Its simplicity allows it to discover and thrive within safety, and for an artist previously in need of defining himself, this is a compelling demonstration of what Joji truly sounds like.



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user ratings (105)
Chart.
3.1
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2018


24350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

appropriate album for my 69th review...

Artuma
November 13th 2018


30215 Comments


fuck this review

Digging: Ni - Pantophobie

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2018


24350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh hey art long time no see

Papa Universe
November 13th 2018


20100 Comments


guess I'll listen.
POSi

Digging: Pedigree - New Freak

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2018


15065 Comments


Killer review dude. Gonna check those 2 darker tracks at least.

Digging: Deafkids - Metaprogramao

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2018


24350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

u might like WHY AM I STILL IN LA too Dewi...but not sure this is fully ur style. thx tho

hogan900
November 13th 2018


2914 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

sweet review man, this guy does nothing for me

hal1ax
November 13th 2018


13292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yayyyyyy

hal1ax
November 13th 2018


13292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review homez

what's your fav song mister connor

J() Alexander
November 13th 2018


6063 Comments


Rhythm and blues blues sounds weird.

Digging: Noise - ??

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2018


24350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@hal prob between ATTENTION and YEAH RIGHT as immediate hits but the production in ...LA is easily my fav

u man?

hal1ax
November 13th 2018


13292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

between test drive / come thru / can't get over you



i actually didn't like cant get over you at first but it super grew on me

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2018


24350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Test Drive is such a hit nice, and yeah was easily the most "happy" sounding one so it kinda stuck out but rly noticed the fine details with some nice headphones in Clams' production

hal1ax
November 13th 2018


13292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ya love clams prod and i like the vocal modulation on it a bit. but ya come thru / test drive are so somber and moody and catchy i love

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2018


24350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the bass in come thru is too good

only ones i dont rly like is NO FUN and the Trippie Redd one obv

hal1ax
November 13th 2018


13292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol ya the trippie one is my least fav too

never been into him tbh

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2018


24350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I WOULD DIE FOR U

SUICIDE FOR U

...

the contrast in lyrics / vocal styles is rly unsettling in that track

hal1ax
November 13th 2018


13292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ya it's lame.

trippie's entire vocal approach just annoys me lol.

feel like he doesn't ever stray from it either

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2018


24350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not big on him either but oh well

Thx for notifying me of this album tho man, been listening to it a ton as of late

SteakByrnes
November 13th 2018


14478 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Test Drive is my fuckin jaaammmmmmmm



Dope review Con :] Love love love this album

Digging: Ghost Atlas - Sleep Therapy: An Acoustic Performance



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