Friday marked the release of Vance Joy’s sophomore album, “Nation of Two,” which tell the story of a relationship through all the highs and the lows. The indie pop artist, who has been a bit under the radar lately, has hits like “Riptide,” “Fire and the Flood” and “Mess is Mine” under his belt. “Nation of Two” came four years after his first album and carries a total of 13 songs.The advertising for Joy’s album was most informative in the form of the mini Instagram clips that were uploaded revealing the art for the album and each track on it, as well as the release of the music video for the song “We’re Going Home.”
The album has been described by Joy as a concept album telling the story of a couple from the beginning of the relationship to the end. In an Instagram post, he said “Nation of Two” (a Kurt Vonnegut reference) “describes a perfectly self-contained universe. A relationship that helps give you your bearings.” Joy said he didn’t write the album around this idea at first though: “I didn’t have a definite idea before I wrote these songs. It was kind of like just waiting for the songs to arrive.”
Joy is a musician who is best described as a reliable artist. His songs are popular because they provide a strange sort of comfort in their patterns. He doesn’t stray that far from his old style which is especially evident in the lyrics on this sophomore album. His new stuff isn’t that different from his old stuff with different words, but the same message and definitely the same sound. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in an artist, but four years is quite a time with little musical growth.
One Of These Days - This song sounded like Vance was trying to say everything he had to in a given amount of time, and that went perfectly with the theme of his album. The lives and relationship of the album’s couple spans 13 songs, which is average by industry standards but a very short story in terms of a relationship. He sings, “You think you’re ready but you’ve got too much on your mind, too much left to prove” as if the person he’s singing about is running out of time and is trying to jump in too quickly as a result.
Lay It On Me - This is possibly the song on the album to receive the most hype partly because it was released as a single. But, this song also has a specific element that was lacking a bit in this album: It was exciting. It was the kind of exciting that doesn’t sound like it was forced. Joy focuses on the soft and tender moments of the album so gently that “Lay It On Me” was a breath of fresh air. Mostly guitar-backed, but with a bit of percussion, helps the song build to a height that the softer songs just don’t reach. This is the spring/summer 2018 adventure song.
Saturday Sun - This song paints the picture of meeting someone for the first time under the “Saturday Sun,” starting a relationship and feeling it fade as you head back to your regular lives away from each other. Joy attempts to figure out what’s going on and where the relationship is headed, but refuses to give up: “The long drive, the coastline. Lookin' out at first light. Am I still on her mind? I've been undone.” You’ll definitely hear this song on this summer’s coming of age movie soundtracks.
In many interviews, Joy has stated that his main goal in writing this album was not topping the success of “Riptide,” but creating songs that he can be proud of. He certainly accomplished that with the substance of the topics covered in this album. If you want to catch some of these songs live, Joy is currently on tour and will be coming to Mohegan Sun this June.
Kanthalina Andreus is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.