George Miller, who creates music under the pseudonym Joji, released his first full length album, BALLADS 1, on October 26, 2018. The project, his first real success under label 88rising, has been a very popular release with fans of the new age indie genre. The musician wasn’t always this successful, though. George Miller used to create youtube videos, acting under the persona of youtuber Filthy Frank, AKA Pink Guy. Listeners are exposed to much of Miller’s past in this project, because, as the album’s name states, it is a collection of ballads. This album is a colorful melody of slow, chill tracks with deep lyrics in coordination with catchy melodies and romantic beats.
BALLADS 1 features songs which are very characteristic of Joji and his style, they are explorative, soul-searching, and exposing. In this album especially, Joji digs down deep and song by song, peels back layers of his true self. He has often spoken out about his youtube career, which required him to put on a fake persona, covering his real personality under heavy layers of artifice. In these tracks, Joji looks inward, searching for peace after his years of personal struggles, brought on by stress, insecurity, and alcoholism. Joji uses his music in this project to claw his way back to reality, out of his depression, heartache, and conflicted guilt.
To complement the “tormented intimacy” of his new songs, this album is peppered with guests on a quarter of the tracks, including Clams Casino, Trippie Redd, Shlomo and D33J. The artists featured on Joji’s newest songs are artists similarly aligned with Joji’s artistic values and style. A key track on the album which features a guest is “CAN’T GET OVER YOU”, featuring Clams Casino. It is the shortest track, but it is the most upbeat and entertaining of them all.
However, while these guest additions to the project may help boost the album and the musician’s overall popularity, the best songs on the album are those without the help of any outside collaborations or influence. The songs in which Joji solos showcase the most emotion, feeling, and depth are the best, because they tether the musician to audience, allowing a method for connection and relatability. In the end, these characteristics are more important than connections or who is featured on the album.
Joji’s best solo tracks on the project include ATTENTION, TEST DRIVE, YEAH RIGHT, NO FUN and XNXX. These tracks showcase the person he has become, how he felt as the person he used to be, and who he is heading towards. Several of these songs speak about his struggles internally, with himself. They include many (often not- so subtle) musical nuances which expose his desire to be more similar to the mainstream new age indie pop music. Others explain his personal relationships, all of which are failed, in a way that will make listeners stop and say, “this song gets me”, a characteristic that is so important for younger, developing artists to have in their music. Relatability is what keeps listeners coming back for more.
With this song’s amazing vibes, hooks, choruses, and lyrics consumed with soul-wrenching relatability, it is hard to imagine that fans would not want to come back for more.
Streaming on: Spotify, Apple music, Google Play, Amazon Music