Dodie is back. Releasing music for the first time since her debut album last year, the singer-songwriter is giving us a look at how the last couple of years have been for her. (Spoiler: a bit all over the place.) Filled with her signature whispering voice, layered vocals and relatable lyrics, we are once again able to find ourselves within Dodie’s songs.
“Hot Mess” the first song off the EP with the same name is about trying to get out of an on-off relationship. The song starts simple as Dodie sets the scene. It’s just the listener and Dodie’s crooning voice over plucked strings as she describes herself waking up, breaking up and dancing. But as her desperation grows to leave the relationship behind, the song grows with her. Layered hums, strings, drumbeats and chimes all get added as the song moves forward. The climax of the song comes as she repeats the line, “Let me go.” In the end she has to rely on the other person to do what she cannot — end the relationship for good.
“Get Weird” is a groovy song about the insecurities Dodie faces when she tries to date women. Featuring a prominent bass line and beats, she tries to figure out what the right way to behave is on a date. She sings over the bridge, “No one told me / ‘Course I stumbled / Where’s the reference?” and of course there might be some mistakes in dates with other women when there are no notable examples to follow. So, what do you say to explain away the awkwardness? Promise that next time it won’t get weird.
A prominent shift comes with the third song “Lonely Bones.” A throwback to the Dodie of old, the song feels simple and light, but its lyrics betray the sadness lurking underneath. Below the wavy back-and-forth beat, Dodie croons her lyrical motif, “Oh, lonely bones, have you forgotten?” again and again. While the listener does not know what the lonely bones might have forgotten, the vagueness makes the song more personal because you can fill in the question however you like. The song is good company for a lonely listener.
The last song “No Big Deal (I Love You)” completes this sadder second half to the EP. Dodie describes a relationship where love might have existed between two people but was never stated aloud. Dodie is backed by simple piano chords as she describes shared showers and a Sunday in each other’s company, but the bridge is the emotional highlight of the song. The chords transform into piano runs as Dodie confesses over the song what she cannot in real life – she loves the person.
While each song feels a bit disparate in theme there definitely is a string that ties them together — everyone in all of these situations could be called a hot mess. So, if you are feeling a little bit like you are being tied together by a fraying ribbon, this might be the EP for you.
EP: “Hot Mess”
Label: The Orchard
Favorite tracks: “Get Weird,” “Lonely Bones”
Shamrocks: 4 out of 5
Contact Claire McKenna at firstname.lastname@example.org