“Modus” is the second track on Joji’s 2020 album ‘Nectar.’ On the track, Joji addresses the pressures of the music industry that artists go through.
Joji released his second studio album ‘Nectar’ on September 25, 2020. The album got postponed from its original release date of July 2020 due to Covid-19. This is his return to music after the 2018 album ‘BALLADS 1.’
On “Modus,” Joji talks about how the industry and the record labels run the artists to squeeze out everything they have to offer. And never is the industry fulfilled. They are always thirsty for more. The song title “Modus,” in Latin means “ways of which things are done.”
Listen to “Modus” by Joji
“Modus” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
In the first verse of the song, Joji talks about how his life in the fast lane of the music industry. After an artist signs a deal with a record label, it is as if they sign their own freedom out. Only a very few artists, if not any, get any control of their music, releases, and their industry presence after that. So, it might be natural that Joji feels that he is on a constant run, and never catching a break. Phrases such as “I am a machine,” “I’ve got no aim,” and “A hundred pounds of heavy steel…tied to my chest” tells us how burdened the singer is with the demands of the industry.
In th hook of the song, Joji confesses that the industry is weighing on him, which is most likely true for other artists as well. He also confesses that he tries so hard to please the demands of the industry. But whenever the industry is fed, it demands more.
In the second verse, Joji uses two vehicle brands to compare himself in the industry. Joji says that he wants to be a Chevrolet rather than a Nissan Sentra. We could draw several conclusions from this reference leading to the same hidden idea. Chevrolet is an American manufacturer and Nissan is a Japanese manufacturer. Comparing the two vehicles, Japanese vehicles are known for their utility overlooks. However, Chevrolet can be seen as a rather high-end model that fulfills an aesthetic appeal. By this, Joji could be saying that Joji would rather not be seen as a tool to derive utility, being overworked throughout his life.
Further, Joji is a Japanese-born artist living in America. Hence, there is a clear message he sends as to what kind of personality he wishes to be. Japanese, as a nation, are known to be very hard-working, so much as to devote 16-18 hours of work a day. Americans, on the other hand, are much more relaxed with their work schedules compared to Japanese. Hence, Joji might, yet again, be telling us how he believes he is overworked to death within the clutches of the music industry.
Joji also apologizes for the delays in releasing his music, stemming from the feeling of being burnt out by the pressures on him.
Let us hear what you think about the song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics and further meaning breakdown on Genius.