Joji Looks Inward On "BALLADS 1"

YouTube video star-turned R&B crooner Joji has been diving deep into his music career over the last few years, and his full-length debut is here to prove it. Joji looks inward on BALLADS 1, his debut record that dives deep into his desires.

There’s a very intimate air about BALLADS 1 that really keeps you invested in the story. That specific immersion has always been Joji’s catch. The record kicks off with the laidback, deep ‘ATTENTION,’ Joji starting off on an intimate and pretty calming note. Similar vibes continue with ‘SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK,’ the emotional track coming with a floaty atmosphere and big choruses that have a dreamy dynamic to them. Chill tracks are a repeating occurrence throughout the album, even at the end with numbers like ‘NO FUN‘ and ‘COME THRU.’

Joji brings more than just a single vibe on BALLADS 1 though. Sometimes subtly, Joji sneaks in several different feelings into the mix, like anger which broods quietly in the background of ‘TEST DRIVE.’ There’s a lot of sweetness to ‘WANTED U‘ that adds a more loving and even personal vibe into the mix. ‘WHY AM I STILL IN LA‘ with Shlohmo and D33J is much more introspective than many of the tracks on the album, and its slow yet climactic crescendo helps establish that. Even closing track ‘I’LL SEE YOU IN 40‘ comes with its own unique sound, the lo-fi ukulele and faraway synths creating a weird, disorienting yet calming nature as you slowly go through the track. There’s very few weak spots in the record (besides the Trippie Redd feature in ‘R.I.P.‘), yet all the same there’s not a lot going on in it, either. It’s just the right middle point to show there’s more potential yet to be seen while still showing his ability to create some great music.

Joji looks inward on BALLADS 1 to deliver an emotional and dynamic debut record. There’s a lot of untapped potential that this record doesn’t quite channel but does show is there, meaning that Joji can only improve from here. Meanwhile, this album of emotional, moody, and chill tracks will keep you thinking until the next release comes.


Least Favorite Track: R.I.P.

Rating: 76 / 100

Stream or buy BALLADS 1 on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist on Spotify: