Joji - “SMITHEREENS” Album Review
Japanese-Australian singer and songwriter George Miller, known by his stage name Joji, broke into the alternative music scene in 2018 with his debut album “BALLADS 1.”
Despite not being critically-acclaimed at the beginning of his career, he slowly became one of those most successful acts of the last few years and a force in mainstream music.
After the overall positive reception of his sophomore album “Nectar,” Joji’s fans and music critics expected his third album “SMITHEREENS,” to be a step in the right direction.
However, the result was a 24-minute album full of demos, underwhelming production and songs that felt rushed.
Joji starts off the album with its main single, “Glimpse of Us,” his most successful song to date – gathering 500 million streams in less than five months.
This song is a win from every angle.
From the crisp production, the catchy and heartbreaking chorus to the engaging writing – this song was the best possible “glimpse” of his new album.
Nevertheless, the rest of the album didn't live up to the stellar song.
The second song, “Feeling Like The End,” is short and forgetful, sounding like his early soundcloud projects. With uninspired instrumentals, repetitive lyrics, and low-quality production.
Aside from the song’s catchiness, there's nothing admirable or interesting about this tune.
The next song, “Die For You,” is a beautiful and charming ballad, yet it's extremely predictable.The production is polished and engaging thanks to the synths, watery piano and harmonies.
Nevertheless, Miller crafted a song to satisfy his audience rather than to evolve as a musician. There is no experimentation or intricacies, resulting in a safe and dull song in comparison to his heart-wrenching ballad “Like You Do,” from his previous album.
“Before The Day Is Over,” is another song in this album that follows the same pattern: safe, enjoyable and forgetful.
The lyrics follow what Joji has continued to write about throughout his career – heartbreak and love. Towards the last part of the song, Miller experiments with a change of beat and reverb, repeating the phrase “let me in” as he chases the beat.
The last leg of the short album ends with “Dissolve,” another repetitive ballad but with silky harmonies. This song changes the pace of the album positively, with the introduction of acoustic guitar and an intimate pre-chorus.
Despite sounding like a Post Malone reject, this tune shows another layer Joji has to offer as a musician – one that transcends synths and generic beats from Garageband. Miller begins the second part of his album with “NIGHT RIDER,” the most exciting song from this project.
With Joji’s vocals acting like the main instrument, Miller manages to use different layers of his voice to make a fast-paced, thrilling beat. Followed by a smooth and extremely catchy chorus, Joji’s vocals and production blend beautifully – making this song the one on repeat since it first came out.
Joji finishes the album with short songs he coined as “demos” and “interludes”, which did not add anything meaningful to the album. From repetitive lyrics to insipid production, Joji overall did not exceed anyone's expectations with his latest body of work.
However, one of the admirable traits that the Australian-Japanese musician has is his ability to make enjoyable, palatable songs. There’s nothing revolutionary or experimental about this album, but each song is catchy and tolerable – making this album likely to end up on multiple playlists.
“SMITHEREENS” overall felt unfinished, trapped in a box and rushed by Joji’s music label. Hopefully, Joji focuses on improving the production of his work, expanding his musical palette and exploring lyrics outside of his comfort zone.
Flawless songs like “Run,” and “Glimpse of Us” created high expectations for Joji, ones he can hopefully live up to in his next project.
Reviewer’s Favorite Songs: “Glimpse of Us,” “NIGHT RIDER”
Reviewer’s Least Favorite Songs: “Feeling Like The End,” “BLAHBLAHBLAH DEMO”
Fernanda Lopez is a second-year majoring in telecommunications. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Luciana Fernanda Lopez
Freshman / Telecommunications and Media Industries
Luciana (Fernanda) Lopez is a Telecommunications major and Portuguese minor from Lima, Peru. She’s been writing music reviews in Spanish for years. Her interests are music, films, comedy and everything Leonard Cohen.