I cannot begin to explain how excited I was for Nectar to be released on September 25th. Originally scheduled to be released in early July, the project was pushed back due to the COVID pandemic, much to my dismay. The first single from the album was Sanctuary, which was released in June of 2019: that’s how long I’ve been anticipating this album. I have followed the career of Joji (the stage name of George Miller) since he was a YouTube creator, and I watched as he built a cult following in the music industry with simple lo-fi tracks that were authentic and intimate. A lot of fans are drawn to the personality and charm he displays in his music, which I can’t deny is infectious. Needless to say, I preordered Nectar and listened to it the minute it was released. At 18 songs and 53 minutes it’s an incredibly substantial album, covering a lot of musical ground and showcasing the unique qualities of Joji’s musical style. Having listened to it countless times already, I can verify it as a hidden gem: it is well-rounded, musically intriguing, and unbelievably catchy. Here are a couple of my favorite moments from the album, which I think demonstrate what makes this album and Joji so special:
This song was one of the many singles released leading up to the album. My first impression was pretty lackluster; I dismissed it as a generic pop song with no character, thinking that it was completely contrary to Joji’s established style. Having listened to it multiple times in the context of the album, I’ve completely changed my mind. First of all, the production by Diplo is some of the best on the entire album. The instrumental is clean and vibrant, with a lot of great synths that really pop when combined with Joji’s voice. Joji’s vocal delivery is spectacular as well: he shows off such a wide range of style and emotion, and he commits to the chorus so well, it’s absolutely perfect. This is easily one of the catchiest songs on the album and I find myself replaying it constantly. It just captures this feeling of euphoria that I love, and I think it’s a great example of Joji’s musical ability.
I would argue that this song is the exact opposite of Daylight: it isn’t bright or vibrant, it’s subtle and understated, relying mostly on strong vocal performances and beautiful instrumental compositions. There’s an amazing piano and strings intro that is extremely reminiscent of Joji’s older music, which was more nostalgic and moody. It makes me happy to see that he has worked on developing the same themes from earlier projects and that they’ve come so far, both in terms of quality and emotional potency. After the intro the track takes a hard left into a simple trap beat and a flawless vocal delivery by Joji. Although the sudden change is a surprise, it perfectly complements the intro. Joji is rapping over a bare bones instrumental in this super sharp tone that feels both intimate and hypnotic and I absolutely love it. Then it develops into this beautiful chorus that brings back the piano and highlights Joji’s amazing singing voice. It’s another song that demonstrates the versatility of Joji and the outstanding quality of the album.
These are only two of my favorite songs, but together they reflect the two sides of Joji presented on Nectar. Some of my other favorite tracks include Run, Afterthought, Mr. Hollywood, and Your Man. I wish I could go into all of the reasons why, but unfortunately that would take a couple more posts. Overall, Nectar is Joji’s best work to date and I can’t recommend it enough. It certainly has low points, but every single song stands out and reveals more about the musical development of Joji. Definitely give it a listen if you can and let me know what you think!