Leaving audiences in smithereens

Popular 2020 artist releases anticipated album

Jojis album cover for his album SMITHEREENS released Nov. 4, 2022.

Photo Courtesy of 88rising

Joji’s album cover for his album “SMITHEREENS” released Nov. 4, 2022.

Bowie Zekpa, Staff Reporter

After two years of being dormant in the music industry, Japanese singer-songwriter George Miller, professionally known as Joji, released his nine song album, “SMITHEREENS” on Nov. 4. In this album, Joji discusses the downs of a relationship and holding on to the last thread of it. The assortment of songs conveys the message of knowing the love in a relationship is ending, but not wanting it to.

Being released as a single first on June 13, the first song on the album, “Glimpse of us” caught the attention of social media. In the song, Joji expresses a fake love for the person he is currently with. Trying to act like he’s over his previous relationship, but when he looks at them all he can see is his past lover. Joji’s use of classical instruments and his own voice as background singers has always grabbed audience’s attention. His despair in the song combined with his own vocals and echoing almost dreamy feeling keeps fans listening and repeating his songs. Gaining popularity on the social media app “TikTok” the song quickly trended for its melancholy themes. With the help of multiple trends including the song, it rose to charts and trended on Billboard 100 for majority of the summer.

The third song on the album “Die For You”, is the second most popular song in the album. Rather than being sad that his past lover is in a different relationship, Joji sings about how he’s happy for them, even though it’s killing him on the inside. Throughout the song, Joji sings lyrics like “I used to be somebody in another skin” and “Almost like we left it all on read couple feelings never laid to rest”. It conveys as his yearning for closure and his stretch out to let the other person he’s not the man he used to be. Though through all these themes, he doesn’t say he wants the relationship back. He wants the best for his past lover even though he doesn’t know how much more he can take seeing them not by his side. Being slightly more upbeat than “Glimpse of Us” gives the listeners contrast. It’s apparent he wanted each song to be one of a kind, with similar themes.

Acting as a turning point in the album, “Dissolve” is the fifth song on the album. In this song, Joji sings about knowing he hasn’t fully changed. Expressing that it’s wrong of him to keep using his past lover as a crutch and he knows it. The chorus of the song questions himself asking “Who are we?” following with the phrase ‘Are we counting sheep until we dissolve’ referring to the common mental exercise used to fall asleep. Basically indicating that he is sleeping to avoid the pain of heartbreak because he can’t feel the emotion when he’s not conscious. The main instrument of this song is acoustic guitar. Having such an isolated simple instrument matched with his layered vocals really gives the listeners that feeling of raw emotion. Letting them not only connect to the lyrics, but letting them immerse themselves in their own similar experiences.

Track seven on the album is “BLAHBLAHBLAH DEMO.” This song holds the most contrast to any other song on the album. It has two parts one being with Joji’s regular vocals and guitar with a small beat in the back. He sings about how no matter how much is taken from him he keeps trying to give love. Singing how he thinks they were chosen so they keep attempting to make the relationship. The second part after the bridge of the song is more beat heavy and expresses more themes of “please don’t get lost without me.”

The ninth and final song on the album is “1AM FREESTYLE” and is one of the shorter songs on the album. This is his final hope and final try to convince his past lover that she’s making a mistake leaving him. He talks about the memories they’ve made, the letters they’ve written and overall all the time they’ve spent together. The song ends in a sort of self-reflection. Joji’s biggest fear is being alone in life. He repeats “I don’t want to be alone” in the song. As this song is a sort of reflection, it reverts back to the piano and vocals, similar to the ones in the first track. The final line of the song is “I don’t want to be alone”. Not only do the six words already express a void, but the music cuts out and it’s the only thing that is said in that moment in the song. He makes the last phrase, expressing the fear of being alone, alone.

Overall the versatility of Joji’s work has shown immensely through the years. Though taking a two year break from producing music, his mournful themes and beautiful vocals were still able to entrance his audience into listening to what he has to say.