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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Criticism: ‘SMITHEREENS’ leaves you wanting more

Smithereens
Photo by via Apple Music, copyright of 88rising & Warner Records
Smithereens

Rating: 9/10
“SMITHEREENS” is the third studio album for the 88rising artist Joji, who has had a presence in pop culture long before his debut EP “In Tongues” was released in 2017. Producer and song-writer George Miller went by many names and operated under many aliases before he finally stuck on “Joji,” where he has now earned mainstream success.
His debut full-length album “BALLADS 1,” released in 2018, contained multiple hit songs like the double platinum and viral “SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK” and his sophomore album “Nectar,” released in 2020, was another critically acclaimed success with features from mainstream artists like Lil Yachty and Diplo.
“SMITHEREENS” was first announced after Joji’s single “Glimpse of Us” was released this past June. The single peaked at No. 8 on the U.S. Billboard and currently has over 600 million streams on Spotify.
The full album was released this past Friday, Nov. 4, and is strikingly short. The total of nine tracks are separated between two parts, and the runtime only reaches 24 minutes.
“Glimpse of Us” is presented at the very beginning of the album, and depicts Joji in his ultimate form. Between the somber piano production and his harmonic vocal performance, “Glimpse of Us” is a snapshot of Joji at his best.
The rest of part one matches the energy set by its grand opening, even if it might not live up to its scale. “Die For You” contains some surreal and psychedelic production from Whethan and Tim Randolph, which excellently connect with Joji’s floating vocals. “Dissolve” delivers a surprisingly acoustic backing to a uniquely electric sounding Joji.
Part two features production from Joji himself, and the four songs all deliver a similar, energetic, colorful, hip-hop inspired flow. Songs like “NIGHT RIDER” and “BLAHBLAHBLAH DEMO” sound very reminiscent of his previous work on “Nectar,” with heavy 808s and very catchy melodies.
Across both parts, the album as a whole is undeniably enjoyable. Every song, whether it be a head-banger or a slow, emotional ballad, has its memorable elements.
Stylistically, “SMITHEREENS” shows an explosion of Joji into multiple different sounds and subgenres. While “BALLADS 1” was self contained in its melancholy slow songs and “Nectar” in its jubilant, cynical pop, “Smithereens” is unbound and difficult to categorize wholistically. Part one especially comes across like a sample platter of the versatility of Joji.
The only major flaw the album has is its brevity. By the end of its 24 minutes, “SMITHEREENS” seems like an unsatisfactory exploration of Joji’s ability. I can only hope that he will expand on this album with something much larger and more fleshed out in the near future.
But for now, “SMITHEREENS” exists as a showcase of the impressive potential the young artist has.

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