Joji is a musical maverick. Taking a leftfield approach to haunting R&B, the past year has seen the Osaka, Japan-born artist top the Billboard charts, rack up over a billion streams on his debut album, Ballads 1, and cement himself as one of tomorrow’s impossible to perfectly classify stars. And in classic Joji fashion, his latest venture is quite unlike anything we have heard from him to date.
“Breathe,” the latest single from 88rising’s forthcoming crew album Head In The Clouds II, follows NIKI’s stunning lead single, and sees Joji linking up with friend and 88rising affiliate Don Krez for a succinct two-minute detour wholly worth taking. A noted departure from the otherworldly downtempo meditations that defined Ballads 1, “Breathe” is likely the closest Joji will ever come to straightforward pop. Balancing the chilled-out energy of a nigh-dancehall hit with Joji’s characteristic penchant for lyricism that hints at a lingering melancholy just rising to the surface, the collaborative effort is near-perfection.
“I wanted my fans to have a song before the summer ended - one that is fun and free,” shares Joji on the underlying sentiment behind “Breathe.” In doing so, Joji has fused two worlds–that of those in search for a moment of euphoria on the dancefloor and those hesitant to make their first steps towards that ecstasy found in the thrall of swirling bodies.
Akin to watching the dancefloor play out in slow motion from the sidelines, Joji and Don Krez have delivered an anthem of a different sort, coalescing themes and sonics detailing infatuation, lust, and one-night chance encounters. “Breathe” is the sonic embodiment of a sunset–an anthem to draw the curtain on what once felt like those endless summer days.
Listen to “Breathe” below:
For more on 88rising, check out the time we made our way to Head In The Clouds to uncover 88 reasons why people love 88rising.