Joji releases new album “Ballads 1”

Former YouTube sensation has hit No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums

Mark Reynolds
Staff Writer

George Miller, better known as Joji, has reached No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums and No 1. on the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

While his wild YouTube personality “Filthy Frank” may have over six million subscribers and started the “Harlem Shake” trend, Joji turns in a completely different direction with twelve ambient, emotional songs.

Jacob Erkel, a Music Industry senior at Minnesota State University, Mankato, has been following Joji for only the last year, but is deep into his entrancing, strange music. 

 “I like how chill it is while also being extremely emotional,” Erkel said. “It has that low-fi vibe to it where it puts you in a relaxed mood, but it makes you think about a lot of different things. Very thought-provoking, very emotional music.”

Erkel’s theory on the album’s popularity is that it touches on emotions that everyone in the millennial generation has, but no one wants to talk about.

“You can imagine it like every other kind of popular music right now is the outward appearance that people love to show off, you know, when they’re out in the club and they’re partying and all that kind of crap. And Joji really encapsulates the rest of what life is like for, I feel like, 20-somethings and millennials,” Erkel said.

And that seems to ring true with Joji’s message. In an interview with Billboard, he says that he quit his “Filthy Frank” personality because he didn’t feel progression with his YouTube channel, and developed bad habits. 

“As stuck people do, I was indulging in vices and just drinking a lot,” Joji said. “It got to the point where I was just showing up to the sets and the PAs knew there had to be a six-pack of beer there.”

Joji’s music shows his deep understanding of and experience with negative emotions. Erkel’s favorite songs “Demons” and “Slow Dancing in the Dark” discuss struggles with inner demons and heartbreak respectively. 

The true appeal of the album, it seems, is his ability to find a balance between lyrical content and strange, encapsulating music and sounds. He uses his voice as an instrument, rather than distracting with words.

“Joji is a great example of the tone and sound of the voice being more important than the lyrics content,” said Erkel. “All of his vocals are just drowned in reverb and split between a couple of octaves. It just goes so well with a bunch of the low-fi beats that go on in the background of the song.”

While many may be turned off by mumble rap, Joji’s music may be different enough that people will be able to find a song that they enjoy. 

“If you hate mumble rap,” Erkel said, “I recommend you listen to Joji. He is, I think, unlike any other mumble rapper out there. No matter who you are or what you’ve went through in your life, Joji has a song that will hit you emotionally.”

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