George Miller is an eccentric figure in the vast space of the internet. Standing in the middle of popular scoffing and unconditional attention, Miller has managed to juggle between his celebrity status and personal livelihood. Following his endeavors since my early high school days, it’s difficult not to be a proud supporter of his work. Being an innate musical monomaniac, his initial status came from his quirky and unconventional web show, Filthy Frank. As the connected world poured in an onslaught of fans, garnering millions of views every year, Miller’s endeavors were pacing down a linear path towards his ideal celebrity.
Through the gradual process of creating his ideal image, there has been no lack of obstacles and turbulence. He’s been open about his battle with his consistent seizures due to immense stress, as well as balancing his “work-school” along with his web show and musical introduction. This led to some decisions to be made, sparing time and energy on the main passions he’s been chasing ever since his popular inception. He’s graduated from college and has recently halted the progress of Filthy Frank.
His earlier work has been unsteadily posted in SoundCloud once in a while. Starting in 2015 (without the insertion into the Filthy Frank channel), he’s been scarcely showing his personal talents, one track at a time. Early in 2016, I managed to find one of his earlier tracks entitled You Suck, Charlie. The SoundCloud track was the victim of constant snatching and spreading throughout the rest of the platform goliaths such as YouTube and Spotify. All due credit was handed to him, although there was very little acknowledgment as to what direction he was heading from this track.
His earlier music before this track was introduced to Filthy Frank and his short-lived vlog channel. These snippets and fragments of his work were the victims of fan-dedicated compilations on YouTube. His beats were subdued under the lo-fi aesthetic, under sleepy drums and melodic snares. That was the feeling he portrayed in his earlier work before his ensconced studio formality. Some fans compared his work to the likes of J Dilla or DJ JD Sports (Archy Marshall). The beats were billowing, smooth, and even poignant at times.
After You Suck, Charlie, Miller posted a few more tracks throughout the year, accentuating the extension of his personality. My personal favorite tracks were You Suck, Charlie, foie (bump), and unsaved info. These tracks especially held an already unique style amongst the other producers of our time. They were melodic and even held some nocturnal feeling to them. I catch myself listening to foie (bump) in the dead of the night, or unsaved info when cruising down an elongated street under the moving clouds of suburbia.
Two years later, Miller has personified this extension as the alias Joji, with two studio albums underneath the impeccable 88rising label. His first studio album, In Tongues, was a polished effort that extended his lo-fi interests with more filtered Trap noises and mainly R&B soot. With Ballads 1, his work has been maximized to the degree of which his talents can reach. Each track here has the potential for radio play but still has his soul entrenched in its boroughs.
The album is a mere twelve tracks, all containing very few songs that sound like one another. It’s an R&B in its primal form. The first few tracks, Attention and Slow Dancing in The Dark, are tracks of which paint the millennial’s love life. Slow Dancing in The Dark is a dark R&B love song that follows his venture into the depth of lust. The track Test Track is another R&B song, with the typical snares he’s developed a predilection towards. The song afterward, Wanted U, slightly combines the elements of the previous two songs, as it contains most of its flavor from Joji’s ability to hit higher notes and prolong them for a good amount of time.
The next song is my personal favorite from the album, titled Can’t Get Over You, which features acclaimed producer Clams Casino. The song contains the same elements as unsaved info, with its light-hearted sample, sweet sounding snares, and Miller’s nihilistic view on a narrative crush. Another personal favorite is No Fun, which holds a vibrant enclave of modernized bass, cheery sample, and Miller’s rehearsed vocal presentation.
Every track in this album differs from one another, but still contains Miller’s presented elements that he’s catered to in the past. As prestable as that is, this album still feels a little uninspired. At some points of the project, it seems like Miller’s personality has been masqueraded by the conventional sounds of modern R&B music. The track R.I.P, which features Trippie Redd, can be a little sappy. I don’t see much of Miller’s soul here, as it sounds like another producer int he music industry has produced this.
The song Yeah Right seems to be a little lax with the same reasons as R.I.P, just with a little more bounce to it. The main confusion with these tracks comes with determining if it’s laziness or evolution. It does not seem that Miller will come back to the low-budget sound of his days before 88rising, and rightfully so. If this is the path Miller sees himself taking to manifest his ideal man into a reality, then it’s perfectly right for him. During the process of his evolution, his image has become more respected by fans of music rather than fans of raunch.
Hopefully, towards whatever he pursues next, the next steps will be the right steps. Not for his fans or his peers, but for him solely.