Vance Joy’s sophomore album, Nation of Two, gives us the gift of getting to know Joy just a little more, providing a soundtrack of love that makes us feel at home.
Released February 2018, Vance Joy’s sophomore album Nation of Two (Atlantic Records) is a compilation of mini love letters about being there for the ones you love, no matter what. Filled with unique cadences and pithy rhythms, signature snares and the ukulele that made him famous, Nation of Two gives us everything we want from Joy, and then more.
Below are highlights from Nation of Two, but the whole album, from start to finish, is more than worth a listen.
Call If You Need Me
The leading track off the album is subtle power ballad that should not be lost after first listen. The running verses are broken up by swells of hymns similar to those you hear in Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros songs. The gentle plucks of the guitar are dramatic and relaxing at the same time, setting up the stage for what the album has to offer. His voice starts low and shaky in that Vance Joy way, slowly building up octave by octave to strong, clear, and crisp. The lyrics express the unconditional love Joy often leans towards. A sweet ode to always being there for the ones you love, which is really, what this album is all about.
Loved you in the darkness
and I loved you in fluorescent light
We’re Going Home
“We’re going home” is as sweet and sultry as he comes. Delicate guitar chords accompanied by his shakily stable voice set the mood for, possibly, his most touching song to date. It quickly turns from sweet and soft with the anthemic chorus,
We’re going home,
If we make it or we don’t,
we won’t be alone
When I see your light shine
I know I’m home
If you’re waiting all your life
you won’t ever go
When I see your light shine
I know I’m home
The song captures the feeling of going home. How it’s not about the physical place, but more so about the people that have made it your home. Something incredibly difficult to do by any means; but with Joys building acoustics, bellowing accompaniments, and powerfully sincere voice, he does just so in, “We’re Going Home.”
Alone with Me
Alone With Me contains the catchiest lyric of the album. The sentence repeated in the chorus rolls so effortlessly off the tongue matching the meaning of its lyrics. “Everything’s good everything’s just as it should be when you’re alone with me.” The cadences created by Joy in this album is one strong factor that set’s it apart from his first. The effort that went into creating different ways to sing through the strums on his guitar is evident and clear. The uniqueness is not lost on the ears, which is why we keep coming back for more. The over 4- minute ballad is smack dag in the album, a perfectly placed representation of the growth in his artistry.
I’m with You
“I’m with You” contains the same cadence-y flow of “Alone with Me,” but of course, in a different way.
I saw you standing there
Sandy blonde hair, the way it came tumbling down
Just like a waterfall
And if you need a light
I’ll be the match to your candle
My darling, I’m ready, to burst into flames for you
I’m with you is slow and steady. Plucked chords and steady vocals take us on a journey. The peacefully pleasant song with have you feeling just a little bit lighter, and little more at ease by the end.
Take Your Time
“Take Your Time” has the energy of hits from the past like “Mess is Mine” and “First Time” while still bringing its own unique twist of pleasantry to the love song. It’s the sweet and romantic notion that once you’ve found the one, you can take your time. Take your time falling in love, take your time enjoying every little moment (even the moments you are apart), take your time with them in this life you’re now, inevitably, going to live together. Musically, the entire song is a build as if it’s taking its time (yes, pun intended) to get to the finish. Verse one begins with true to form pulsing bass drum and steady guitar chords. Soft and angelic harmonies and a snappy snare introduce verse two. It’s not until after the bridge, where everything is broken down, that horns and powerful harmonies are brought in to take it home. Another sweet masterpiece by Mr. Joy.
Nation of Two is full of little gifts. “Like Gold” and “Saturday Sun” are clear hits, while sleepers like “Little Boy” and “Bonnie and Clyde” will surprisingly sneak up on you as favorites. Give Vance Joy’s new record a listen and check him out on tour this year – his live shows offer passionate performances of his songs with stories as sweet and kind as you’d imagine to break them up.
If Nation of Two confirms anything, it is that Vance Joy is a true artist who should not, and will not, be missed.
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? © Justin Bettman