Home Music joan’s “portra”: A track-by-track review

joan’s “portra”: A track-by-track review

Via VSCO @songsbyjoan

joan is an indie-pop duo made up of Alan Thomas and Steven Rutherford from Little Rock, Arkansas. They fuse styles like ’80s synth-pop and a bit of ’90s R&B whilst keeping a nostalgic vibe that still manages to feel modern. joan’s sound is similar to UK rockers, The 1975 who they list as one of their influences. Their debut EP “portra”, was released earlier this year.

“tokyo” is the third single joan released from the EP. The beat, which progresses slowly and falls into a sound similar to the band LANY, embodies an 80’s vibe that grows as the song reaches the chorus and continues without lacking modernity. The song is about a fleeting relationship that they didn’t want to end, and how they try to convince the other person to keep it going.

“take me on”, the band’s first single, continues on the wave of synth-backed 80’s vibes. It starts slowly, but suddenly speeds up and bursts into a catchy chorus. The song is an ode to young love – it’s amazing, but they don’t want it to last forever.

“stop and stare” is the only song that wasn’t previously released as a single. It feels almost mysterious with the opening lines, “keep wondering how lonely you are without me”. The beat speeds up in the chorus, while they exclaim, “you’re everywhere”, and falls again in the second verse, but becomes catchier as the song progresses.

“love somebody like you” feels like it came straight from a prom scene in an ’80s-inspired movie. The duo told The Daily Listening that “it’s a song for someone that you obsess over. They seem out of reach, but you can’t help but to take a chance and go after them”.

“i loved you first” is a ballad about an unrequited love. “Baby you know that I loved you first / But now, you’re in love with somebody else” they sing, as the track softens before collapsing completely after an unexpected but fitting guitar solo. The song came in form of their fourth single but it was a re-release of a song they put out during 2016 called “with somebody else”.

“take me on (chilled)”, the last track of the EP is a slowed down version (or chilled, as the band calls it) of their first single. The lyrics, quantity of some lines, and tone of some parts of the song were also modified on this version of the single.

You can listen to the full EP on Spotify below:


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