the beauty behind joji's "SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK"
Updated: Mar 13, 2021
Cover Art: Alex Chen
The perfection of “SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK” lies within its unearthly production and writing that portray the heart wrenching emotions associated with a dying relationship. The narrative of the album follows Joji realizing that his significant other has been seeing another guy behind his back. Lyrics such as, “You should be with him, I can't compete” and “You looked at me like I was someone else, oh well” portray how Joji concedes that this girl would rather be with someone that's not him. Joji says in a Genius interview that the line “Don’t follow me, you’ll end up in my arms” actually can be interpreted to mean: “When you see me out there lost, don't come following me ‘cause you’ll be just as lost as me.”
Joji appears as a satyr in the music video to represent his sadness, as satyrs are symbols of fear and can be interpreted as him embarking on a journey to win the girl back. Also seen in the video, Joji is struck by a Cupid's arrow and covered in blood, which may symbolize the song's underlying theme of his love for his significant other bringing him suffering and agony. Not to mention that the very title of the track “SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK” refers to being “in the dark” or, in Joji's case, not knowing about his significant other cheating on him with another person. Joji getting shot with the Cupid's arrow represents his feelings of disinclination and desire to escape from a crumbling relationship. He gives up on winning the girl back so she can be with another guy instead.
In the cover art of “SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK,” there are white panels where Joji falls and passes away as a result of his injury. Joji is surrounded by a pool of blood. The overall image greatly resembles the Japanese flag. Joji was actually born in Japan so it could just be a coincidence, or it could be him paying homage to his home country.
I’ve come to realize that everyone has their own interpretation to this song. As supersethman on Reddit interprets it, “We have this guy who is struggling with depression or anxiety or any other mental health issues which make him feel inadequate for his partner. He doesn't want his poor mental state to affect the person that he loves most, or for them to be trapped in the ‘dark’ that he is slowly dancing in. It gives a voice to all the insecure guys that are struggling.”