(image credit: Joji)

Forget Filthy Frank. Pink Guy is no more. Now meet Joji.

Before George Miller became Joji, a professional musician, he was a YouTube star known as “Filthy Frank.” Miller stopped making videos due to serious health concerns as his comedy stunts broke numerous bones and weighed on him mentally. The YouTube star would turn to music under the name Pink Guy. Pink Guy made cringe-worthy comedic music. This phase of his life ended in 2017 when Miller wanted to be seen as a serious musician, and Joji was born.

“BALLADS 1” is the first full-length album by Joji. In Tongues, his first EP, came out in November of 2017 and was re-released as a deluxe version with forgettable remixes. In Tongues had only a few memorable songs which include “Will He” and “I Don’t Wanna Waste My Time.” There are plenty more memorable songs on “BALLADS 1.” The new record comes together as a painful, but beautiful, concoction of unexpected instrumentals and honest lyrics. “BALLADS 1” is the new installation of “SADBOI” music.

The entirety of the album is about heartbreak, loss, depression, unhealthy relationships and bad decisions. The album is lyrically genius as the songs are riddled with well-executed and slant rhymes. Joji uses many metaphors in his work, some of which are very unusual. These unusual metaphors give the realism of unhealthy relationships. In “WHY AM I STILL IN LA (featuring Shlohmo and D33),” the lyrics “Girl you choke me sitting airtight. Ziploc right now.” represent the artistic mind of the new artist but also show the harm an unhealthy relationship can have on someone.

Joji is brutally honest with his lyrics. “WANTED U” is lyrically brilliant as Joji sings about wanting someone so badly that the relationship becomes toxic. He compares this relationship to not being able to breathe like he is in a noose. “So, punish me, I’m hanging in your noose.” Lyrically, the album is genuine and honest as the artist experiences the difficulty of love and loss.

“BALLADS 1” has a variety of genres infused in it. These genres include Rock, Pop, Rap, R&B and Electronic. The genre choices also change the instrumentation in each track. These instruments include bass guitar, guitar, vibraphone, piano and the ukulele which drastically changes the energy for each song. For example, “WANTED U,” the fourth song off of the record uses vibes, piano and wind chimes over a synthesized beat until the last minute of the song where an overpowering guitar riff brings life to the rest of the song. The choices of the instruments intrigue the listener as Joji belts out lyrics or mumbles over a looped track.

The most upbeat song on the album is “YEAH RIGHT,” which is 169 beats per minute (BPM). A typical upbeat rap/pop song is around 160 BPM. The average BPM for the album is 93.25 BPM, which is much slower than a regular pop/rap album. Although the album is much slower than most, it is filled with life. The record is built on emotions.

The album’s singles that were released through the fall season of this year are the most memorable, along with “ATTENTION” and “R.I.P (feat. Trippie Redd).” The transitions between songs are quite good. The flow of the album is broken in between the songs “WANTED U” and “CAN’T GET OVER YOU (feat. Clams Casino).” The former comes to a dead stop before the latter starts. Also, there are only a few songs that can be played on a playlist without context. For example, the single “WHY AM I STILL IN LA (feat. Shlohmo &D33J),” is a power driver of emotion but awkward by itself.

Overall the album is beautiful and oozing vitality and emotion. It has a few flaws which include the questionable album cover, the awkward transition and the songs that do not belong in any playlist other than the album itself.

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