Welcome to another week, TasteMakers! As the frosty mornings become colder and we gradually head into the upcoming winter, we find ourselves seeking solace in more emotional tunes for warmth. This week, we’ve been cozying up to the mellow bops of our Artist of the Week Joji.
Japanese-Australian artist George Miller first shot to fame as an eccentric YouTube star, where he thrived under the aliases Filthy Frank and Pink Guy until 2017. He was able to express a completely different side to himself during this time through his quietly captivating SoundCloud releases under the stage name Joji. His distinct lo-fi inspired music eventually caught the attention of 88Rising, the Asian music collective behind acts like Rich Brian, NIKI, Higher Brothers, and Keith Ape.
In 2018, Joji released his debut album BALLADS 1, a soul-baring collection of melancholic expression featuring themes of unrequited love, heartbreak, and commitment. We all love to wallow in some sad love anthems from time to time, and the aesthetically moody bops of Ballads 1 are the perfect place to seek solace.
Here are some of our favorite heartbreak anthems from BALLADS 1 (in no particular order):
This somber opening track caught our attention with its minimalist beat and simple yet haunting piano melody. Through its stripped-down instrumentals, we’re able to focus on the depth of Joji’s soft, melancholic vocals in this most atmospheric performance. “ATTENTION” is the perfect track to listen to on a contemplative night in while curled up in bed.
SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK
Joji’s lovelorn narrative is continued in his breakout single “SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK”. This heart-wrenching, goosebump-inducing song features Joji crooning about the slow disintegration of his relationship against an elegantly layered electronic production that hits you right in the feels. The darkly melodic, tranquillizing ambience of “SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK” makes it one of our all-time favorite songs to cry to. Check out Joji’s breakdown of the official lyrics and meaning behind “SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK” below:
Once again, Joji delivers an emotional performance with “TEST DRIVE”, a mournful track about a relationship in which one partner is more devoted than the other. Hip-hop influences are evident within this RL Grime production, which features a slow trap beat that helps Joji’s distinctly expressive yet soft vocals stand out (we also get a glimpse of Joji’s smooth falsetto here!). “TEST DRIVE” conveys Joji’s dejection and longing in a perfectly packaged hit - it’s another guaranteed tearjerker 😢
Can’t Get Over You
“CAN’T GET OVER YOU” provides an interesting change in pace within the album as the track features a more chirpy production courtesy of Clams Casino. The jarring nature of the despondent lyrics (“I can’t get over you / Can’t get over you / And before I die I pray that / I could be the one”) paired with the adorably upbeat, danceable instrumentals makes this a standout track for us - we love sad bops we can bop to! We also love the way Joji’s music videos are always visually striking, complementing his contemplative and minimalistic sounds without outlandish, almost comical visuals. We simply can’t get over “CAN’T GET OVER YOU”.
We had the pleasure of seeing our favorite sadboi live here in Seoul a few months ago, and can attest to his astounding musical and atmospheric presence. 💯
👇MAKE for Joji to bring him to your city now!👇
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