By Luis Olguin, Nov. 15, 2022
On Nov. 4, Japanese singer-songwriter Joji released his third studio album “SMITHEREENS” via 88rising and Warner Records. This album was one of the highly anticipated albums in alternative pop and R&B after his album “Nectar” released in September 2020 and “BALLADS 1” in 2018.
This album demonstrated the new heights that his production and songwriting are reaching. “Nectar” was considered one of his best and more robust projects after the release of “BALLADS 1”due to the countless amount of YouTube reviews by fans and critics like Anthony Fantano, aka “theneedledrop.” Could this new project satisfy his fanbase and critics after the success of “Nectar?”
The album is divided into two sections. Side one contains that soul-searching ballad and lyrical description of losing love fans know him for. Side two has more of his ambitious and unfinished collection of lo-fi sounds he is known for.
This album delivers a dreamy, dark and melodic feeling. To paint a picture, have you ever been at a party quite intoxicated, as a responsible adult, and heard a song through the bathroom walls? The sound and the song itself are muffled allowing listeners to only hear a glimpse of it.
How about a song you played for the first time after a breakup when you swore you were over it, but one single lyric struck a nerve and now you’re in bed crying again. A song can be found for both scenarios and then some on Joji’s new album “SMITHEREENS.”
Joji first mentioned the album on June 6 in an Instagram post announcing the release of the lead song, “Glimpse of Us.” On June 10, Joji revealed the “SMITHEREENS Tour,” leading fans to believe the name of the tour was going to be connected to the upcoming project.
The album and its Nov. 4 release date would be confirmed on Aug. 26, along with the release of the album’s second single, “YUKON (INTERLUDE).”
He gives the listeners a nice mellow beat that they can do a little dance to with “Feeling Like The End.” Personally, I feel like that one steps a little out of the box of the recent songs he’s released like “YEAH RIGHT” and “SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK.” However, it does fall in line with songs like “CAN’T GET OVER YOU” all of which are off the previous album “BALLADS 1.”
When comparing “SMITHEERNS” to his previous albums, fans and critics might consider this album to not be one of his strongest projects. At times, the album seems unfinished or rushed when comparing it to older albums; it feels as if this could have been an “Extended Play” to a future album.
After the release of the hit single “Glimpse of Us,” fans can feel that the album follows the similar theme of dark love songs where he compares his current relationship with his past one. But, don’t let this discourage listening to the new album as how there are multiple singles and tracks that make the album a memorable playthrough.
Take into consideration that every track on the album has surpassed the one million mark for streams on Spotify. But, there is this dark beauty to this album.
The entire album runs at about 25 minutes and OG Joji stans will be gripping their steering wheel on their one a.m. drive home to a few songs on the album. Not that I know anything about this.
Even those who aren’t Joji’s biggest fan can find themselves throwing a song into their gym playlist.
Feature image courtesy of Jackson Gray
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