The Nugget

Joy AdVANCEs into Another Album

Mia Tocas, Head Writer

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James Keogh, better known by his stage name Vance Joy, is a native Aussie singer and songwriter. Although Joy may not be a super familiar name to many, his first hit “Riptide” certainly should be. This single lingered on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for about 42 weeks back in 2013.
Now, Joy is back at it again with another amazing album that flaunts his indie vibes, varied rifts, and joyful sound. Nation of Two closely examines the dynamics between a young couple who are trying to steer themselves through hard times towards a better relationship. Nearly every track on this album radiates a feeling of complication and intimacy, suggesting that Vance Joy may be allowing his current feelings to seep into his lyrics.

The album starts off with the song, “Call if You Need Me,” which perfectly sets the stage for the love and despair theme that Joy displays throughout the album. With the line, “Loved you in the darkness and I loved you in fluorescent light, if it don’t feel right, babe, you can run and hide, babe,” Listeners are at first disappointed that the first song of the album is a sad song. However, Vance draws the song to a finish with the significant other replying, “I’m coming home babe,” leaving fans thirsty for more.

Vance Joy once again busts out his ukulele in his fourth track, “Saturday Sun.” Its uplifting melody and catchy lyrics are the perfect solution to chasing away the winter blues. This song is sung from a man’s perspective to a woman who made one hell of a first impression. He perfectly captures the excitement felt when meeting someone new in the lyric, “Oh, Saturday Sun, I met someone out on the West Coast, I gotta get back, I can’t let this go.” I mean, after all, is it even possible to be sad on a sunny Saturday?

His strongest vocals, however, are displayed on his very next song, “Take Your Time.” This bittersweet song begins with the lyrics, “There’s an ocean in my head, waves that don’t ever rest, this kind of beauty ain’t ordinary, you look but do you really see? Won’t you take your time on me?” From here, the song steadily builds upwards, with every verse stronger than the previous one. Finally, it reaches an impressive crescendo with the repeating lines, “And you know my heart, well, it’s waiting for your call.” This is by far, the peak of the album. Vance’s vocals are strongest here, specifically, on the very last note of the word, “call.” I found myself continuously hitting “repeat” on this verse.

Vance draws this album to a close with a slow ballad titled “Where We Start.” This tune stands out from the rest of the songs, most likely because it is the only slow one. This song was most likely written to please fans of folk music, as the track sounds less like an indie pop song and more like a slower, much calmer Mumford & Sons melody. The lyrics are soothing, clever, and are filled with cheeky lines, particularly, “There’s people coming ‘round here soon” followed by “Everyone, act normal.”

Overall, the instrumentation, lyrics, and Vance Joy’s comforting voice in Nation of Two form a perfect triangle. These tracks are the result of Joy doing what he does well and keeping his style consistent. Some songs pay tribute to the old Vance that we know and love, and some make room for experimentation and fresh sounds. Fortunately, this album was released just on time for it to be everyone’s fall morning go-to. From the first strum to the last, this album is an array of heartwarming music and signals a promising career ahead.

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Joy AdVANCEs into Another Album