Joji released his latest studio album SMITHEREENS on November 4th, 2022, and it did not disappoint. This album is significantly shorter than his previous release, Nectar, in 2020. SMITHEREENS also has a more rudimentary and mellow sound than his other works, but it nevertheless packs an emotional punch that may make it the next album on repeat for the heartbroken.
If you are not familiar with Joji’s work, his signature sound can be defined as melancholic and heavy. His lyrics can hit a little too close to home for his brokenhearted fans. I definitely remember blasting Joji when I was fresh out of a relationship and feeling all the feelings that Joji seems to perfectly capture in his music. With a mix of lo-fi and R&B, most of his music surrounds the theme of regret and grief of ending relationships.
The SMITHEREENS album came with a total of 9 songs, the first track being “Glimpse of Us”, which he released earlier this past June, and instantly became a summer hit, reaching the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song also blew up on social media, especially TikTok. Listening to the new album in order, the lyrics paint the story about being in a relationship, the heartbreak that follows, and the grief and eventual acceptance.
Specifically, the SMITHEREENS album was a refresh from his other work. While critics on Tiktok are quick to call this album his least exciting, I found the music to be a step away from his typical sound. The first couple of tracks follow a mellow yet somewhat upbeat melody, although with his signature gut-wrenching lyrics.
The second half of the album consists of shorter songs and carries a different story. The lyrics suggest Joji’s reflecting on his feelings when he was in a relationship. His last track “1AM FREESTYLE” talks about the fear of being alone. It perfectly wraps up the conclusion he comes to after listening to his heartbreak story: In the end, his ending relationships amplify his fear of loneliness, a fear that many can relate to.
My favorite song on the album would have to be “Die for You”. The dreamy intro transports you to sitting at an open window on a crisp winter night. In the first verse, Joji’s voice is modulated to sound like you’re listening to his confession through a voicemail. I think what gets me every time is Joji’s lyrics. The iconic chorus in this song has already been quoted many times: “I heard that you’re happy without me/I hope it’s true.” You may have come across a TikTok or two of listeners in an existential crisis mode while this verse plays.
As an artist, Joji taps into the raw feelings that come with the experience of breakups. If you listen a little too closely, you might end up spiraling in your thoughts and feelings, as his tracks immerse the listener into his melancholic mind. If you’re going through a breakup, or just need a good song to be sad to, check out Joji’s latest album SMITHEREENS, and his lyrics may just be what you need to hear.