Dodie, full name Dorothy Clark, has released her second EP ‘You’ today after substantial online buzz. Following on from the theme of previous EP ‘Intertwined,’ ‘You’ exhibits Clark’s mature songwriting ability, conglomerating complex and dark issues with her brand of sunny songwriter-pop.
Opener ‘In The Middle’ is a catchy, slick, witty song (“about a threesome”, Dodie claimed at a recent gig) combining swirling overlapping vocals and the urge to dance with an altogether more sombre meaning; a recurring theme in her music. Although Dodie laments “I’ll be in the middle / you two get along / you’ve got so much in common,” the rather sadder message of the song becomes altogether more sarcastic: “we could all be the best kind of friends.” This echoes earlier tongue-in-cheek songs that Dodie has released; song ‘I Have A Hole in My Tooth (And My Dentist is Shut)’ from her previous EP ‘Intertwined’ also reflected her light-hearted side.
Having said that, next track ‘6/10’ couldn’t have set a more different tone. Opening line “I feel like a 6/10,” coupled with a repetitive piano pedal note and echoing string accompaniment, is swirlingly melancholic. “Is there pity for the plain girls?” Dodie asks, with a canonic “I know that you don’t want me here” refrain rendering the song as suffocatingly sad, with the overlapping voices making the song almost cinematic-sounding.
Parts of the next 50-second long track ‘Instrumental’ were almost Chopin-esque, cleverly guiding us through Romantic-era piano melody into the next song ‘You,’ which makes one think of Parisian romance gone wrong. An upbeat, melodic song, once again Dodie juxtaposes her happy melodies with lyricism that suggests otherwise: “someone’s going to get to know the better you / when I was supposed to,” Dodie sings, whilst her talent for harmonies are shown to their full effect. Her cleverly constructed imagery reflects heartbreak in a way that seems surmountable; although her “heart’s running out of sellotape,” ultimately she decides “whatever it was, it was wonderful / if non-functional.”
‘Secret for the mad” is a stand-out track on the EP, perhaps for its musical simplicity that allows Dodie’s lyricism and hauntingly individual vocal to be brought to the fore. A single piano note rings out throughout, combining with swelling harmonies. As more layers of vocal are brought in, Dodie’s anthem for those who are suffering let her audience know that “there will be a day when you say you’re okay and mean it / I promise you it’ll all make sense again.” The extremely personal nature of Dodie’s music make the listening experience incredibly affecting; her open struggles with depression and depersonalisation make the EP significantly more real and touching.
However, with her self-actualised brand of happy yellow, Dodie wasn’t going to end the EP on a sad note. ‘Would You Be So Kind’ is a summery track where Dodie is asking “would you be so kind / as to fall in love with me.” The perfect ending to a complex EP grappling messages of love, despair, and mischeif, Dodie has proved why she has such loyal fans and a promising future as a musician in her own right, not as a ‘Youtube star.’
Dodie, who has a large following on Youtube, is also an accomplished actress, having featured in many skits and sketches as well as the short film ‘Let it Be’ directed by Bertie Gilbert. She also has a book coming out later this year.
Dodie will embark on a UK tour in October to Newcastle, Glasgow, Manchester, London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Norwich and Nottingham.