“Nectar” Review: Dripping Depression
“Nectar” is a “cry in your room with all the lights off” album. But who wants to do that everyday?
Joji became a familiar name amongst young millennials and Gen Z teenagers thanks to the success of “SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK”, his lovesick track that is backed by dreamy instrumentals. His first album, “BALLADS 1” released in 2018, had fans and curious bystanders wondering what else the artist could offer.
In 2020, Joji is still lovesick on his second album “Nectar”.
The opening track ,“Ew”, is a bare all confession. Joji isn’t holding back with how deeply the uncertainty of his relationship is hurting him. The layers of piano, bass guitar and string instrumentals add to the intensity of his emotions. “Ew” is a beautiful track and will surely feel like a warm, sad blanket for anyone going through a breakup.
“MOODUS” is a game of tug-of-war. The track consists of the same instrumentals as “Ew”, some bass guitar, piano and a string ensemble. But to get that “I’m trying” message across, trap drum beats join in. Joji’s vocals get louder toward the end of the track before they fade with the line, “But right now, I’m just not strong enough for you”. The track ends with a piano solo, letting us know that the narrator tried, and is tired now. It’s a solid work of production, which carries the weight of somewhat lacking lyrics.
In “Daylight”, Joji decides he won’t be sad about his relationship anymore. The production is fun and oozes new found self confidence. Unfortunately, the lackluster lyrics don’t match the instrumentals and trail behind.
The album doesn’t offer anything note worthy until we reach the seventh track, “Run”. Joji’s relationship is still in shambles, but now he has reached the anger stage. He has tried to keep his relationship going, but his partner’s love is dwindling. This anger is backed by some heavy guitar, a completely unexpected and greatly appreciated sound.
Track thirteen, “Afterthought”, picks the album up again after a slump. The feature of female artist BENEE gives the track a call and response feel. The track serves as a window looking into an intimate moment of lovers airing out their grievances with one another.
The final track, “Your Man”, is where “Nectar” finally sounds different again. “Your Man” is full of the enthusiasm and thrill of finding a new person to throw all your efforts at. Joji is asking for trust, while the instrumentals beg for a dance.
For all of its slumps, “Nectar” is an album that can’t be easily forgiven. While there are songs that pique interest like “Run”, getting to these tracks feels like work. What saves “Nectar”, and Joji, is the experimental production throughout the album. Hopefully album three will see experimental lyrics.