The third EP release from Essex-hailing singer, songwriter and YouTuber Dodie is finally here. ‘Human’ isn’t a full-length album but, with seven songs, it’s not far off, and that’s good enough for us. More than a year since her last EP ‘You’, how has her music developed?
‘Human’ begins with the soothingly breathy ‘Arms Unfolding’, a track that is intimate and so characteristically Dodie. The charming harmonies and fully stripped back production reveals an almost acapella song bursting with intrigue and passion. It’s short but oh so sweet.
Turning the tranquillity completely on its head is ‘Monster’, a four-and-a-half-minute anthemic track that perfectly balances Dodie’s delicate vocals with driven percussion. Dodie isn’t one to shy away from meatier productions, as her previous EPs will show, but something seems so fresh and insightful here. The companionship of the YouTube community is illuminated through the music video, a seamless film directed by PJ Liguori (KickThePJ), produced by Sammy Paul and starring Daniel J. Layton. Both the track and the video are outstanding, undoubtedly making for a huge hit live.
There’s a running theme of revamping old songs on this EP which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Dodie has given makeovers to both ‘She‘ and ‘Burned Out‘, albeit subtly. Elsewhere, the changes are more prominent. ‘Not What I Mean’ made its debut on Dodie’s YouTube channel a year ago as a collaboration with Dom Fera. While the new EP version, now featuring Lewis Watson, is a joy for the ears, it lacks the original chemistry. The orchestral composition acts as a hot air balloon, gently lifting the song and adding dynamics that couldn’t have been achieved otherwise. It’s pleasant but not a highlight.
The title track is nothing short of extraordinary. Released as a single in September, it has been doing the rounds on radio and various Spotify playlists ever since. At first, it is nothing more than a sweet love song. However, a couple more listens will unravel that idea, revealing possessive and obsessive undertones made more apparent by the lines “I want to give you your grin/ So tell me you can’t bear a room that I’m not in”. This just goes to show how intricate Dodie’s lyrics can be, as the song shapeshifts and warps depending on the listener’s interpretations. Marvellous.
Overall, ‘Human’ is a delight. It’s quirky and calm, pushing the boundaries ever so slightly to prove that Dodie isn’t just a one trick pony. Dodie is certainly one to watch and it will be interesting to see where she takes her music from here.