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Today we’re going to discuss an album, which I’d recommend to anyone who has problems with sleep just because of the fact that the current release can be characterized by increased levels of drowsiness and relaxation, which we can easily hear in its sound and see in its lyrics. Plus, if somebody was hoping to hear something new from this artist and his new album, including completely new approach towards composing and performing his tracks, he/she will be completely disappointed. Personally, I was quite disappointed by this and I’ll be even more sad about this artist’s music if in future he continues releasing similar albums over and over. That’s because they become less and less original and memorable in due time.

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So, as usual it’s more than funny for me to hear about some artist’s “debut album” despite the fact that it’s not really his first release ever. This time, it’s Joji, whose previous release I was reviewing on my Russian-speaking channel. It was quite a short review because I couldn’t get many details and peculiarities to analyze in that album. Moreover, I did not even want to make a review of this album just because of the fact that I couldn’t say anything new about this album and its content.

In fact, previous release of this guy titled “In Tongues” I personally liked a lot because of it’s lo-fi melodic style, its melancholic lyrical meaning and decent artistic lyrical composition, for all of which I was really grateful. Instead, this time we can hear almost the same components of Joji’s music, but much weaker in terms of quality, at least for my taste. Now I’ll try to explain, why is it so.

The album’s called “Ballads 1” and it tells us the same stories and depicts the same subjects over and over. It tells about relationships, both healthy and toxic, it tells about romance, good and bad friends etc. I cannot really say that all this conceptual stuff is represented in great manner and somewhat better than it was in the previous release. Personally, I find “In Tongues” more artistic and creative from conceptual perspective. Here, the overall concept of the album can be defined as the following statement: “I’m emotionally suffering, it’s hard to find a decent friend/girlfriend but it’s easy to lose everyone”. This is combined with the cliche statements like “girls only need money”, “all my friends are fake” etc.

I admit that in total this album sounds more than emotional and sometimes even tear-jerking; however, I also feel like this all melodramatic vibe of the album is rather fake and it doesn’t make me feel compassionate about the stories depicted in corresponding tracks. Instead, it makes me bored. In fact, the only thing that has been done well in terms of lyrical production is it’s structural composition. In other words, it’s composed well and fits more than great in respective segments of the tracks. In general, if you won’t try to think too much about the lyrics and their meaning, you’ll probably like the album more than I did.

From musical perspective, the album is much stronger. Especially I like the vocal lines, their composition and performances. That’s true even despite the fact that I don’t really dig the timbre of Joji’s vocals that feels too mumblish for me and it sounds more like falsetto cheeping rather than singing. I really appreciate the choruses of almost all the tracks, especially in the first third of the album. On the other hand, closer to the second half of the album, the vocals start sounding closer to mediocrity and making me wanna sleep more and more. This boredom is interrupted by upbeat and summery sound of “No Fun” – one of the track that I liked in closing part of the album.

The instrumental content is represented by quite similar picture. In fact, the biggest majority of the tracks contain the same lo-fi sound like it was previously. I cannot say that instrumental composition and performance hasn’t been done on sufficiently high level; however, I couldn’t find anything distinctive and/or original and/or different from the rest of lo-fi hip-hop that you can find on almost every YouTube audio stream. Certainly, sometimes we can hear parts containing distorted guitar samples that make the overall sound closer to Lil Peep’s music and we have really weak parts with Trippie Redd with his auto-tune howls.

In total, the album was quite uninteresting and lacking dynamic except the first three tracks. I honestly believe that this release would be much better if it contained only those three tracks. And honestly, I’d listen to “In Tongues” more than listen to this new release just because there’s really nothing completely new in it. This album is more suitable for background listening during your casual activities because of this. That’s why I’d rate it 2 out of 5 because I don’t really like the fact that Joji has already started overusing the same sound, same style and same lyrical content over and over. Hopefully, his future releases will be more diverse.

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