After facing a number of setbacks due to Covid-19 and Brexit, May 7th is a day have been counting down for. Originally due for release March 5th, Build A Problem is the hugely anticipated debut studio album from singer-songwriter, dodie. With her captivating voice and unique blend of sounds, its been worth the wait. Exploring a range of emotions and relatable situations, dodie elegantly encourages you to embrace what you’re feeling. The good and the bad, reminding you it’s all part of being human.
As well as a host of new tracks, we’ve been given a studio version of When. Over the years this heart wrenching track is something we’ve heard dodie develop and present in different ways. With a live version featuring on 2016 EP Intertwined and YouTube video showing off a full band play through, this latest version gives the familiar comfort of the song all while hearing small refinements that make you fall in love all over again.
Rainbow is another fan favourite dodie has brought back to our attention. Originally released two years ago on YouTube, it’s a track that never fails to make you tear up. Even with a range of instruments and build up throughout, it somehow still manages to have a hugely soothing stripped back sound.
Running up to the release, we’ve been treated to 6 singles and 4 music videos, with dodie dropping a 5th video for album track Four Tequilas Down on release day. The simplistic video beautifully matches the reflective nature of the track; all while playing on the trope of looking out the window as dramatic music plays.
It’s hard not to feel your entire body taken over with chills watching dodie open and alone singing to you; an experience felt throughout the album. Every lyric dodie writes feels so carefully crafted. Having a level of obvious meaning while being so layered you can create your own interpretation for the story she’s telling.
Build a problem is an album that has been so thoughtfully pieced together. Renowned for heartfelt, honest and vulnerable storytelling throughout her music, you’ll need tissues at the ready. Dodies 2019 release, Human, opened with the gorgeous Arms Unfolding. A delicate track that gives you a calming welcome into the EP. With Build A Problem dodie has done the same. Opening with Air So Sweet, the track gives an phenomenally atmospheric start. Acting as calming welcome before throwing you straight into the next track.
Hate Myself shows off dodies bubblier sound. With its playful nature it’s almost a reflex to turn the volume up. With a range of instrumentals layered, there’s so much to give your attention to. Each time you listen you’re bound to notice something different. Building up throughout, we’re steadily introduced to dodies iconic melodies and harmonies.
Hate Myself explores that feeling when you’re with someone who doesn’t let you in. Pushing back any emotion and ultimately making you feel like you’re the problem. Throughout the fun video set in Cornwall, we see dodie intensely training to become a postie. Adding to the playful sound of the track it’s shown to us like training for an olympic sport. The idea of being knocked down while trying your best to do the right thing works so well with the lyrics. Ultimately beginning to feel that satisfaction of reaching the other side.
Showing off a more vulnerable and grown up side, I Kissed Someone (It Wasn’t You) hits you where it hurts. Experiencing trying to move on but not really wanting to and almost feeling guilty about it. Although the track is relatively short you’re left feeling like you’ve been on a long journey. With beautiful string instrumentals, it’s a truly melancholic track. Showing off the heartbreaking reality of navigating dating while longing to be with your ex; something we’ve all experienced at some point.
This is also one of the first times we’ve seen the singer not shy away from having an adult side. It can be hard for fans to respect and understand people maturing, but dodie encourages the acceptance. Over the years she has openly spoken and sung about nostalgia. Now seeing her embrace how she’s grown from the teenager who started on YouTube it’s almost as if dodie has that freeing release. Reinforcing a message that people are complex and more than what you see online. Being a fan for many years and growing up alongside her, it’s given me a sense of confidence to fully embrace this. Theres a huge sense of pride seeing dodie own her womanhood and show that element of her life.
Breaking up the album we’re treated to two instrumental tracks. Acting as a way to give you a few moments to pause and reflect while showing off the immense talent of her band. While listening front to back its hard to ignore how thoughtfully put together the album is.
Just shy of an hour runtime, Build A Problem is a treat start to finish. Not only do we have a full album, but dodie has also shared 8 demo. The tracks started out as project A Lot Of Songs In April (ALOSIA) with demos that give a change of pace from previous album tracks. Showing off the diverse range in sound you’re kept on your toes; unsure and excited for where you’ll be taken next.
By having the additional demos, this album acts as a perfect introduction to dodie for those who’ve never heard her music before. You get to experience the darker and vulnerable moments, while also seeing the side that makes you want to dance. After releasing music for a decade, Build A Problem shows a confidence in developing a distinctive sound. At times it feels dark and classical, while at others the folk-pop vibe is hard to ignore.
Theres an art in creating music that feels like its intimate and made just for you, while also pulling you in acting as a reminder you’re not alone. Dodie’s music feels like therapy, giving yourself that time to just sit back and escape reality for a while.