In 2014 and 2015, Vance Joy took the world by storm with his song “Riptide” and his album Dream Your Life Away. In 2018, we’re getting the follow-up album, Nation of Two. After listening through the new album a few times, you can hear the growth of Joy as a musician and a song writer. You can also hear that this record is better than the last.
First, there’s not a song on this album that’s like “Riptide” or is as close to as good. That’s never going to happen. That song is a unique song and a once-in-a-lifetime song for a musician and a listener. People latched on to it because it was such a good song. The narrative of the lyrics was awesome, the instrumentation completely unique, and the melody was striking. There aren’t any songs like that on this new album, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t songs with some of those same qualities. Most of this album has the same type of narrative to it – whether it’s “Saturday Sun”, “Lay It on Me” or “Bonnie & Clyde.” A huge chunk of the album has some of that same unique instrumentation, especially the simple but serene “Where We Start.” If there’s something that different on this album it’s that the instrumentation isn’t being used quite as much. Joy seems content with letting his vocal do most of the work here, and that certainly makes sense because he’s more than capable of doing it. “Where We Start” is an example of that just as it is for the instrumentation. The song features a simple but beautiful banjo riff and then an awesome vocal from Joy.
Joy’s Nation of Two is a great record that tells the story of the ups and downs of a couple, a simple and relatable narrative. That adds to how great this album is. Joy’s songwriting is better here than it was on the previous record and the vocal/production work here is just as good, if not better. The new album from Joy will keep the attention of the people that started following the singer/songwriter on the first album and will surely garner more fans and listeners.