"Modus" is the second track from Joji's 2020 album "Nectar". On the track, Joji addresses the music industry pressures artists go through.
Joji released his second studio album "Nectar" on September 25, 2020. The album's original release date was delayed in July 2020 due to Covid-19. This is his return to music after 2018's BALLADS 1.
On Modus, Joji talks about how the industry and record labels manipulate artists to squeeze everything they have to offer. And the industry is never satisfied. They always want more. The title of the song "Modus" is Latin for "the way things are done".
Meaning and review of the song "Modus"
In the first verse of the song, Joji talks about how his life is in the rush of the music industry. After an artist signs a contract with a record label, it's like signing his freedom. After that, very few, if not all, artists gain control over their music, releases, and their presence in the industry. So it's only natural that Joji feels like he's constantly on the run and never catches a break. Phrases such as "I'm a machine", "I have no purpose" and "A hundred pounds of heavy steel... tied to my chest" tell us how burdened the singer is with the demands of the industry.
In this song, Joji admits that the industry is putting pressure on him, which is likely true for other artists as well. He also admits that he tries very hard to meet the needs of the industry. But when the industry gets food, it demands more.
In the second verse, Joji uses two brands of cars to compare himself in the industry. Joji says he wants to be a Chevrolet, not a Nissan Sentra. From this link, we could draw several conclusions leading to the same hidden idea. Chevrolet is an American manufacturer and Nissan is a Japanese manufacturer. Comparing these two cars, Japanese cars are known for their versatility. However, the Chevrolet can be seen as a high-end model with aesthetic appeal. So Joji could tell that Joji wouldn't want to be seen as a tool for extracting utility after being overwhelmed throughout his life.
Also about the release and about the musician himself
In addition, Joji is a Japanese-born artist living in America. Hence, he gives a clear idea of what kind of person he wants to be. It is known that the Japanese, as a nation, are very hardworking and dedicate 16-18 hours a day to work. On the other hand, Americans are much more relaxed about their work schedules than the Japanese. Hence, Joji can tell us again how he finds himself overworked to death in the clutches of the music industry.
Joji also apologizes for the delays in releasing his music due to feeling burned out by the pressure on him.