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Album Review: Tom Odell – Best Day of My Life

3 min read
"Tom Odell has shown no signs of falling into one particular sound" on new record Best Day of My Life...

With nearly ten years in the public eye, Tom Odell has shown no signs of falling into one particular sound. The Ivor Novello winning singer-songwriter began his career similar to many modern musicians, attending music university, and working hard to put themselves out there as much as possible. In Odell’s case, the effort payed off. 2013 saw the release of his debut album Long Way Down, featuring his biggest track Another Love. Since then, Odell has shown himself to be unafraid creatively, taking steps to push his sound into new and interesting directions. His fifth album, Best Day of My Life, may be a simpler affair, but is by no means a step in the wrong direction.

The understated opening and title track encapsulates the sound of the record. Softly played pianos, modulated vocals, and glittery synths and samples complete the song, and showcase elements of what’s to come. Lyrically, Odell also captures the essence of the album. He sings of renting a bicycle to ‘ride around the city’, and accepting an almost self-imposed isolation; ‘If I’m alone, I’m alone, and I don’t mind’. This is followed by Sad Anymore, which continues the calm streak. As Odell repeats the line ‘I don’t wanna be sad anymore’, we get a glimpse into his mental state, despite it being a surface level observation. It’s tracks like this that give the happier songs, such as the title track, an ironic perspective, further adding to the album’s melancholic sound.

Instrumental duo Sunrise___ and ___Sunset begin and close the mid-section of the record, which sees Odell show off his ability to write impassioned ballads. Just Another Thing We Don’t Talk About builds to a climactic conclusion of growing backing vocals and airy synths, while Enemy sees him using autotune to add a sweetness to his vocals, as he sings about a friend turned foe. Closer Smiling All The Way Back Home is a hopeful conclusion to the dower tunes, talking of the end of a party, and the aftereffects of a good time. It represents an emotional normality that Odell has shown to crave throughout the lyrics, but also a fear that once it’s gone, it’s gone. Musically, it hits just right, ending on a fading synth pad and allowing time for the listener to breathe before concluding all together.

Best Day of My Life is a complete juxtaposition to his last full-length album, but is also on somewhat familiar ground to fans of his earlier work. It’s a record that showcases Tom’s writing brilliantly, especially his melody and lyrical talents, and one that, although a single level throughout, doesn’t overstay its welcome. In that way, it’s the perfect sister album to 2021’s monsters, in that it is the exact opposite It shows listeners that he is continuing to experimenting with his sound, while also still being able to craft fantastic songs.