Vance Joy “Nation of Two” Album Review
Written by Brody Ferretta & Jared Lopez
from Titan Radio’s The Brojo Hour, Fridays at 2 pm
On February 23rd (2018), singer-songwriter Vance Joy released his much anticipated second album. His debut album Dream Your Life Away was an instant hit as Vance broke onto the music scene. Hits such as “Riptide” and “Fire and the Flood” were only a couple of impressive tunes that were on the album. That being said, his follow-up album came with much anticipation. Nation of Two contains a mix of upbeat acoustic rhythms as well as beautiful ballads.
The opening track “Call if You Need Me” is a personal favorite of mine that showcases Vance’s finger-picking abilities as well as resonating lyrics describing the emotional intimacy of a relationship. Along with “Call if You Need Me”, other songs on the album such as “Take Your Time”, “Where We Start”, and “Alone With Me” exemplify tenderness, haunting lyrics, and Vance’s superb songwriting abilities.
Hit singles from the album include “Lay it On Me” and “Like Gold” which are both excellent catchy tunes that easily have you singing along. “Lay it On Me” is layered with a horn section, drums, vocal harmonizing, and of course Vance on acoustic guitar. “Lay it On Me” has quickly become a fan favorite from the album, with over 51 million listens on Spotify, it without question tops the album with its popularity. “Like Gold” is another personal favorite of mine that contains resonating lyrics of love, reminiscence, and catchy guitar riffs. From the moment you hear its intro, you’re hooked immediately. With clever use of imagery and harmonies, “Like Gold” will likely become another Vance classic if it hasn’t already.
For those familiar with Vance’s material, fans will know that he is a frequent player of the ukulele in his songs. Arguably his number one hit “Riptide” has inspired fans far and wide to pick up the uke, due to its iconic opening riff. Vance once again brings out the uke for “Saturday Sun” which is one of the more upbeat songs from the album. With an instant feel of happiness and thoughts of sunshine and the coast, “Saturday Sun” is almost guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Vance uses a clever musical pairing of ukulele and banjo to make this one a little more special. “Little Boy” and “Bonnie & Clyde” are two other tracks with use of Vance’s signature ukulele. “Little Boy” walks you through a story about a little boy (most likely a narrative about Vance himself) who goes through a traumatizing bike accident and is taken to the hospital by his parents. By the end, you feel a sense of love and sympathy for this “little boy” after witnessing his story through the song. “Bonnie & Clyde” tells another story about a couple who go to the theaters to watch the film “Bonnie & Clyde”. The song tells the story of the couple’s experience and thoughts on not only the movie but life itself. Vance’s excellent story-telling abilities are once again shown in this great track.
As big fans of Vance Joy and his debut album, Jared and myself were by no means disappointed with Nation of Two. Vance stuck to what he does best: Writing acoustic ballads of love, loss, and happiness, riddled with solo acoustic and ukulele tracks as well as songs backed by his band that add a great addition. Nation of Two is quite similar to his first album Dream Your Life Away, but that’s what’s special about it. Like the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, which is without a doubt applicable to this album. Vance doesn’t try anything too different or drastically new. With obviously new rhythms, harmonies, and beats, Vance gives his fans somewhat of a part 2 to his first album. Nation of Two is a Vance Joy masterpiece that is filled with resonating hits. Whether you are a die-hard Vance fan, or a first-time listener, you will not be disappointed with this album. So, if you are going through a relationship (good or bad), at a coffee shop, or stuck inside on a rainy day and want a good listen, Nation of Two will be the perfect soundtrack.
- Brody’s favorite song: “Like Gold”
- Jared’s favorite song: “Call if You Need Me”