Review: Joji – Smithereens

Andrew Lang, Copy

5 Anchors

The ever underrated rapper Joji has just released his third studio album, “Smithereens,” and needless to say, Joji did not fail to deliver another melancholy masterpiece of an album.

Joji’s previous work, “Nectar,” was a great piece of ambient rap/R&B filled with great features. However, his new album has delivered just as much of a depressing punch in the stomach as any of his others. Coming off of other hit albums, “Smithereens” has been surrounded by a cloud of hype, and this album delivered just as well as ever. 

The album opens with the leading single, “Glimpse of Us,” a moody song with swell vocals and soft piano playing. Songs like “Die For You” deliver Joji’s idea of sacrifices made out of love for a past lover, all coated by a mellow and pretty instrumental. 

The second disc of the album delivers a lo-fi collection of beat-filled instrumentals, reminiscent of his album “Nectar.” Some songs, like “1AM FREESTYLE” and “NIGHT RIDER” seem to create a great combination of his previous albums; almost an interlude between the two classics, and thus the entirety of “Smithereens” appeals greatly to his old fans.

The album is also surprisingly upfront with its emotional tone. In the song “1AM FREESTYLE,” Joji simply recites “I don’t want to be alone” in a simple, yet beautiful fashion. Then, in “Feeling Like The End,” Joji says “Feeling like the end, don’t think it will get better, baby,” invoking a bitter sadness deep inside the soul of the listener. 

Really, “Smithereens” clocks in at a brief 23 minutes, with nine songs, making the songs long enough to convey a message, but not long enough to become boring. The album creates a beautifully sad atmosphere and is definitely an amazing monument for Joji’s career. The listen is a tear-jerker through every second, but every single tear is worth it. Instant classic.