Review: Vance Joy — Nation Of Two

Categories:  The Arts    Music
Wednesday, February 28th, 2018 at 5:00 PM
Review: Vance Joy — Nation Of Two by Richard Gibson

★★★★☆

Vance Joy once again delivers an album filled with acoustic guitars, flowing melodies, and his patented ukulele. Vance Joy’s most recent album, “Nation of Two” gives us a glimpse into a key theme of the 30-year-old singer-songwriter’s life: a girl. A girl whom he has loved, lost, and would do just about anything for. The focus strikes a chord with a broad audience, for surely many of us can picture that one person in their head while listening to Joy’s songs.

Joy’s smooth voice and his sweet, simple melodies make this a very easy and relaxing listen. While listening, one can hear the aesthetic of an indie person's instagram. It’s easy to just picture someone getting into a car and driving off into the sunset with the love of their life whilst listening to his songs.

Joy gives us some of his best music to date with this recent release. Some of the standout tracks are “Lay it On Me,” in which Joy dramatically expresses his desire to hear every word that his significant other has to say. It starts off very slow and mellow and then gradually picks up into an almost a rock song. Trumpets are incorporated and a heavy drum beat is introduced about halfway through the song. Joy then slows down the melody again and you are back to listening to an acoustic guitar. There are a lot of ups and lows in the song. This could be an indication of the emotion Joy is feeling about the person he is singing about.

“Saturday Sun” breaks the album’s easy listening tone with an upbeat dance track. In this song, Joy brings back his ukelele that brought him to fame with his hit song “Riptide.” This song also goes into a breakdown about halfway through and several more instruments are added into the mix, however, his ukulele remains the most prevalent instrument throughout the entire song. Although the songs have a similar feel, “Saturday Sun” carries itself differently than the rest of the songs. Because of this, Joy’s delivery keeps one wondering what the next song will bring.

One of Joy’s greatest strengths is his compelling storytelling - Each line, each chord change, puts you into the moment with Vance and he is able to portray his emotions through his music to you. This is a talent that not a lot of modern day pop musicians have. It is cool to see such a great artist become very mainstream.

The biggest issue with the album is it’s flow. The song order doesn’t quite provide the overall cohesiveness required to weave Joy’s songs into a solid story. There's something missing. This being said, the songs themselves are excellent, and Vance Joy’s emotion can be heard in each and every one.

The repetitive melodies and the song order do not make this album the best - but the purity of the music coupled with the ease of listening to Joy’s voice make it one of the better albums of this year. I would still highly recommend this album to anyone that likes calm, down-to-earth indie music. Good Job Vance Joy. 

Standout tracks: "Lay It On Me" and "Saturday Sun" 

Stream below:

Richard Gibson can be reached at musics.spectator@gmail.com. 

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