George Miller became an internet icon with his comedy YouTube channel. But last year, the Japanese entertainer dropped it all (including his 8.4 million subscribers) to pursue his more serious musical venture, Joji, and his debut Ballads 1.
The slow, soft piano melody and lo-fi R’n’B beat of Attention is a sign of things to come; Joji’s murmuring chorus “When you cry/You waste your time/Over boys you never like,” over a rumbling bass provides a sad, thought-provoking opener. Slow Dancing In The Dark has a similar feel, but has an extra layer of atmospheric psychedelia.
It’s not all sad songs though. Test Drive has a much more prominent trap beat, and Can’t Get Over You is a real 808-bopper. No Fun is also upbeat and summery.
Tracks like Wanted U and Why Am I Still In LA have a -emo vibe, with fuzzy guitars and fragile falsetto vocals.
Ballads 1 works best if you’re in a reflective mood – but closer I’ll See You In 40 ends things on a ukulele/electronica hybrid high, reminding us this debut is only a few steps away from perfection.
Contains strong language