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Live Review: Joji delivers emotional ambition on second album, 'NECTAR'

30 September 2020 | 12:18 pm | Emma Jones

After building up intense anticipation, Joji's much-hyped second album, NECTAR, is finally here.

After building up intense anticipation thanks to a string of acclaimed singles dating back to June 2019, Joji's much-hyped second album is finally here. Titled NECTAR, this record marks an evolution of one of the world's most exciting stars, managing to remain at the forefront of the digital age by amassing a loyal, worldwide fan base and over 5 billion streams. Moving from his 2018 debut, BALLADS 1 and In Tongues before it, NECTAR is a richly layered, ambitious and lengthy second album that sees Joji challenge himself, dig deeper than ever and ultimately emerge triumphant.

Tapping a vast variety of collaborators including DIPLO on previous single 'Daylight', as well as Omar ApolloLil Yachtyrei brownBENEE, and Yves Tumour, Joji opens up his artistry more than ever before with the likes of Bekon & The Donuts, Justin Parker and Kenny Beats also recruited for production duties. As a result, NECTAR is a broad church of RnB, pop, indie and electronica, with Joji camouflaging into each distinct style with ease. Employing his deeply reflective and introspective lyricism with future-facing production, and armed with a grand vision brought further to life with high budget video clips, string sections, high profile samples and more, he elevates himself as one of the world's most exciting breakout names and an artist who has defined 2020.

From the 2019 lead single 'Sanctuary', to the heart-wrenching 'Run', upbeat viral sensation 'Gimme Love' and the Diplo-featuring pop hybrid 'Daylight', each single has been carefully considered to reveal the multi-faceted emotional behemoth that is NECTAR. Doing an excellent job of positioning Joji as an artist who continually rebukes tradition and convention in his artistry, Joji has once again opted in favour of authentic, genuine and emotional creativity instead of operating by a playbook. Backed by the groundbreaking 88Rising crew, Joji makes a sonic statement with NECTAR in that he has delivered an eclectic, detailed, meticulously curated collection of songs to add to the already rich tapestry that is his musical catalogue.

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Unafraid to take his listeners into new and personal territory with his lyrics, Joji doesn't shy away from the beauty in melancholy, musing and ruminating on the many complexities life brings us all. He doesn't purport to have it all figured out, nor does he pretend he has the answers. Instead, he provides solace and comfort in being just as confused and hurt as his listeners are, and offers a hand to hold as we try to make sense of it together. In a time when the world needs it most, NECTAR explores the fragility of the human condition, the liberation from realising you don't need to have it all under control and the respite and refuge we can achieve when we let people in.

Across 18 tracks, NECTAR is as ambitious as it is momentous, solidifying Joji's claim as a genreless superstar-in-waiting who continues to remain as authentic as he was when he publicly quit YouTube in 2017. An extrapolation of the Joji who effortlessly cut to the core of us with his heartfelt, RnB-tinged pop on BALLADS 1NECTAR is a sweet victory from an artist still just getting started.

NECTAR is out now via 88Rising. Buy/stream here.

Words by Emma Jones

Image: Supplied