by Emma Turney
On dodie’s third EP, she sticks to the pattern that made her popular online without ever pushing new boundaries. dodie grew to fame on Youtube through vlogs and cover videos. Once she began to release her own original songs, it became clear that the British singer had a real talent for songwriting. However, what hasn’t become clear yet is whether she is capable of creating a great song. She currently is releasing all her music independently – and it shows. While in some moments dodie seems like the new female Ed Sheeran, in others it’s clear that she will need more people on her team to catapult herself to serious musical success.
Dodie is a talented writer, as clearly seen on Human, but it seems as if Human would be more effective as a book of poetry. Her singing and production contrast too deeply with her soft lyrical themes. On ‘Monster,’ dodie sings about her and her partner becoming creatures because of each other. Under her signature soft vocals, dodie adds strange computer sounding elements that make no sense considering her usual acoustic guitar style. I understand trying to branch out, but this new take only makes the song odd and almost unbearable. During other moments, dodie leans too far into her roots like on the incredibly boring ‘Arms Unfolding.’ On the minute and a half track you can barely hear dodie’s voice, which is disappointing considering that the lyrics tell a beautiful story about forgiving an old love.
When the track list came out for Human, the title song stood out with a feature from rising Scottish musician Tom Walker. However, dodie doesn’t use his talent to her favor. They simply sound unamused. It was a great opportunity for dodie to use another growing singer-songwriter to create a hit, but ‘Human’ is anything but that.
The only saving grace on Human is the refreshing ‘She.’ Dodie uses her gentleness over a violin and a soft acoustic guitar to sing about an unrequited love she has for a girl. It’s a classic story told in music recently (‘Sleepover’ by Hayley Kiyoko, for instance), but the thorough details in dodie’s lyrics as she sings “she smells like lemongrass and sleep” make her take seem unique. ‘She’ is a perfect blend of the softness that made me fall in love with previously-released songs ‘Intertwined’ or ‘Sick of Losing Soulmates’ with new harmonies and production levels.
Human is much of the same dodie that we have seen over her past two EPs. If she wants to begin taking her music career seriously, dodie needs a team of experts to help her create a full-length album that sounds more thought out. It’s a listenable EP, but if you’ve heard one dodie song, you’ve honestly heard them all.