On Oct. 26, Joji released “BALLADS 1.” This follows his debut EP, “In Tongues,” from 2017 and is the debut album with 88rising. The album’s release was preceded by four singles, “YEAH RIGHT,” “SLOW DANCING IN THE RAIN,” “CAN’T GET OVER YOU,” and “TEST DRIVE,” all of which gave a preview of what the final product would sound like.
The theme of commitment is one seen throughout the album with its opening track, “ATTENTION,” being a song about how the girl he likes doesn’t give him the attention he deserves compared to other guys. He returns to this theme in “WANTED U,” in which he talks about meeting a girl who is just as down as he is and he begins to grow feelings for her although he is uncertain if she feels the same way.
Another theme on this album is unrequited love, something Joji previously visited with the singles “YEAH RIGHT,” “TEST DRIVE” and “SLOW DANCING IN THE RAIN.”
The major standout on the album is “NO FUN,” an upbeat-sounding song adressing the fact Joji isn’t worried about losing friends. This is a rarity because many of Joji’s songs are not upbeat and usually have an underlying theme of loneliness.
“R.I.P.,” which features Trippie Redd, the only feature on the album, has both artists singing about the sacrifices they would make for someone they love, going as far as to say they’d die for them. Next up is“XNXX” which has Joji talking about longing for love and even asks Cupid “to pass another my way.”
The album closes with “I’LL SEE YOU IN 40.” This outro brings back a sound not heard from Joji since the “Chloe Burbank Volume 1” days on SoundCloud, but overall doesn’t add much to the album as a whole.
After finishing the project, it’s obvious Joji is starting to find his own sound, but is still trying to perfect it. He will get into a groove on certain songs but the track will abruptly end just as the song was finding its way. Despite this, “BALLADS 1” is an improvement from an already decent EP and shows Joji is very serious about his music.