Vulnerable, honest and a deep insight into the human brain
If you are a part of the Youtube community, Dodie Clark is probably a household name to you. The British singer/songwriter now has over one million subscribers and has collaborated with big names such as Jon Cozart.
Dodie Clark became famous via her Youtube channel doddleoddle with her covers of popular songs and with original songs she wrote herself. She usually sings and accompanies herself on the ukulele, guitar or piano. Most of her songs fall into the pop/indie category and the earlier ones deal with topics almost every teenage girl struggles with: love, relationships and friendship, and even one about make-up (you should definitely check out her song “Paint”). But as she got older and turned into an adult her songs became darker and about more serious issues like mental health and questioning you sexuality. She also talks about these issues in her vlogs.
Her latest EP “you” is a continuation of this. Each song on this EP is related to her own personal experience, which makes them even more emotional. She wrote all of her songs herself, and the individual arrangements really fit the story each song tells. Sometimes it is just her playing the ukulele, sometimes accompanied by a set of strings or a backup choir or piano arrangements.
A look at the track list reveals that three out of six songs are about relationships, but the topic is addressed differently in each of them. The EP opens with “In the middle”, a song about being the girl between the ex and the new partner when these two surprisingly get along. This title is a lot more upbeat than the other tracks. With a catchy percussion beat and a bass guitar as the accompaniment the song has a very sassy character, especially then when the choir starts in the chorus and shouts an almost aggressive “Hey” in the musical breaks.
The next song is entirely different. It is soft and vulnerable and features no more than a piano and a choir. “6/10” talks about the struggles of just feeling plain and not special. In my opinion this song hits home with everybody. Everyone has had these feelings at one time or another. In the bridge, several lines sounding like they come right out of a conversation layer up and give a deep insight into the singer’s mind. This song is followed by “Instrumental”, which is what it says. Like on her last EP there is a short one-minute track and here Dodie shows her skill and talent as a composer. A piano and a set of strings line up to form a dreamy tune. It sounds like something I would listen to before going to bed or while on a train and staring out the window. This piece is short but very emotional and a very good addition to the EP.
The title track “You” is written in the style of a French chanson. Its technical makeup makes it sound like it is being played right from an old fashioned record player, which really fits the character of the song. It is about the harsh reality of getting over an ex while this person has already moved on and found someone new.
The two final songs are definitely my favourites. Let’s have a look at “Secret for the Mad”. On her channel Dodie talks about her own struggles with mental illness and provides support for others struggling, and this song is the essence of it. It addresses the problem of mental health issues and how important it is to “burn your way through” even though it is hard. The arrangement could not be kept any simpler. One note is played constantly throughout the song to represent the constant pain of madness. At first it is only Dodie alone but then more and more voices are added towards the climax of the song, reminding the addressee that he or she is not alone in this battle. After this very deep song “Would you be so kind” is a little bit easier to take. It is a happier song about someone politely asking someone else to fall in love with them. There is no blame, just a very nice request to at least try. To match the more happy style of this song it is accompanied by a ukulele.
Dodie’s EP shows that this young singer-songwriter is very variable in her style. She does not need a lot of technology and fancy backup tracks to perform great music. This EP is all that I wished for. There is not one track I really disliked or do not like to listen to more than the others. They are all very personal and they all fit different moods one can be in. This makes it hard to put a label on Dodie’s music, so all I can suggest is to just try it out. She published all of the songs on the EP on her Youtube channel so you can access them all. I highly recommend it for all dreamers, the mad and those hopelessly in love.