Album Review: SMITHEREENS
By: MIA BERTRAND/ STAFF REPORTER
Jam-packed with emotional ballads, SMITHEREENS by Joji feels like a safe haven for those who are already feeling some seasonal depression this winter.
On November 4th, 2022 Joji’s album was released to his hungry fans who have been desperate for any releases from Joji’s since his absence online beginning in 2020.
While the release of his lead single Glimpse of Us on June 10th, 2022 did little to satiate his fans' wish to hear more from the artist, it did give us insight into what his album would look like.
Right off the bat, on side A of his album, Joji sings of his longing to be loved and wanted, presumably by an ex, while simultaneously being ingenuine to his new partner. Lyrics from track one of the album, Glimpse of Us, demonstrates this as he sings:
“Said I'm fine and said I moved on
I'm only here passing time in her arms”
As listeners we can acknowledge his plea to feel whole again after heartbreak and can also empathize with filling that hole with a rebound. It’s not uncommon for those going through loss to try to move on by finding someone else, but for Joji, it seems to be of no avail. It’s as if he is singing directly to those of us whose hearts have been broken.
The shift from Glimpse of Us to track two, Feeling Like The End, carries on the theme of loneliness. Joji is haunted by all the memories of his past love and shares this feeling of being discarded with listeners, he sings:
“Too many, too many things we did together
You used to promise me it would be forever”
Most people can relate to the betrayal of a broken promise between you and someone important. We're left feeling like the world is ending and everything is crashing around us. .
In my opinion, Joji’s song is like a helping hand reaching out to listeners and allowing them to hold on while things feel unstable. However, listeners should be aware that this feeling is not permanent.
As Joji expresses in Die For You, track 3, you’ll get to a point where you aren’t completely over what happened, but you are capable of wishing the best for the person.
“I heard that you're happy without me
And I hope it's true (I hope, I hope it's true)”
Joji’s willingness to accept the outcome of a broken relationship can uplift listeners to do the same. Or in the case of Before The Day Is Over, track 4, you may relapse into a relationship with the same person only to inevitably reach the same ending.
“I know it won't be long
I know you're almost gone”
We’ve all been there. Returning back to the same person even though they’re toxic, but you have such fond memories of them that you try just one more time.
As Joji shows in his song, this only leads to more heartache in the end. Listeners be wary because this one really makes the tears start streaming.
Dissolve, track 5, deals more with worrying about how others may view you during this time. Joji seems preoccupied by the idea of looking okay on the outside even if he isn’t doing great inside.
“Quite some time has passed
It fell right through my fingertips, I still look alright”
Nobody wants to be the person everyone knows is down bad. You want to look strong even when going through something as terrible as heartbreak. Joji is able to make it feel less lonely to have these thoughts by speaking them outloud for the listeners.
Moving onto side B of the album, NIGHTRIDER, shifts the tone to be a bit more on the poppy-sounding side. He seems to know his self-worth repeatedly singing about being too precious.
BLAHBLAHBLAH Demo, track 7, has a similar up-beat vibe and introduces the idea of wanting to be forever young. He sings with an urge to give any and everything he has while he is still young and capable of doing so.
“I love, I love, I love, no matter how
How much they take (How much they take)”
Although loving unapologetically can be a great thing, I feel as though Joji is warning his fans that it will take a lot of you to do so.
He juxtaposes this very idea with the next track YUKON (INTERLUDE), where he admits you can't be forever young because you have to grow up to move on from heartbreak.
“Circles at the Chevron (Girl, I might be)
I might be forever gone (Bitch, I might be gone)”
Giving all your love to someone is not only tiring, but can make you lose yourself in the process. Joji shares this fear with fans and makes it a little more tolerable for us all who have ever felt the same.
The final track 1AM FREESTYLE concludes with the realization that you can make it out of the darkest times of your life, but you’ll need to rely on others to do so.
“You know you can make it
But you can't make it alone”
Joji seems to finally recognize that heartbreak isn’t the end of everything; you can make things better by relying on loved ones. I personally enjoyed ending on this note with the album that things can always get better.