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Joji Speaks Volumes on "In Tongues"

By Peter Ntourntourekas; For the Clock
On November 18, 2017

George Miller is known by a few pseudonyms on the internet. The Australian-Japanese writer is most famous for his work on YouTube as FilthyFrankTV, making raunchy and purposely offensive content meant to garner extreme reactions from unsuspecting viewers. He had a stint producing music as “Pink Guy,” a parody-style rap artist based off of a character from his YouTube channel that wears a pink spandex onesie.

Joji is George’s serious musical endeavor, and he has been quietly working on it for years. His SoundCloud is sparse, but chronologically deep, spanning a few years back. Joji would occasionally post a lo-fi rap instrumental, or a soulful vocal cut, and go back under everyone’s radar.

Recently, Joji has seen a boost in popularity due to a small EP titled “Chloe Burbank Vol. 1” and some viral singles like “You Suck Charlie” and “Thom,” collecting a combined dozen million views on YouTube strewn about multiple third party uploads.

In Tongues is the second EP, and is an improved attempt at the same rainy lo-fi Joji has been known to produce. The whole thing is only six tracks and sixteen minutes long, with no track running far over three minutes. It has a pacing like a SoundCloud playlist of sample beats and unmastered hip-hop instrumentals.

Don’t let the brief length fool you, though. “In Tongues” gets seriously deep during its short play time. The music video released with the single “Will He” is a surreal look at a graphic murder-suicide, with the dead roaming the city mouthing lyrics, searching for something.

The lyrics are noticeably short in every song, and there isn’t any particularly impressive vocabulary, but the manner in which words are used is so simple that it’s almost visceral. It’s such an easy connection from the lyrics to emotions that there is almost no filter there. The lyrics are a small bridge into Joji’s soul, and it’s purposefully easy to cross.

The instrumentals are dark, but it’s a soothing dark. There’s some piano samples and some textured lo-fi drums, but they always have this deep, grindy bass that sounds like you should be looking at a rainstorm through a window. There’s always this gloom bearing down on the tracks that seems to come through the side chained bass.

As individual tracks, however, I wasn’t very excited by the pieces of “In Tongues.” There isn’t anything wrong with them, but they also don’t do anything particularly exciting. It doesn’t feel like the songs really go anywhere. It’s as if they quietly loop from the beginning until it’s just kind of over. There isn’t much indication of a rising or falling of action, no lyrical rise. The songs are a wallpaper on your day, inoffensively in the background.

As a whole, “In Tongues” is a glimpse into a quiet depression. There isn’t much in the way of transformative, experimental work, but that’s okay. Joji clearly introduces his listeners to the gloomiest recesses of his creative space, forcing them into the same thing he’s stuck in.

Give it a listen next time you want to indulge in the rain.

Rating: 7/10

Best Tracks: “Will He”, “Pills”

Wort Track: “Bitter F**k”

 

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