A few days ago, I wrote a post on Tom Odell, commenting my undeserved and most-likely biased opinion on his two albums. As I had previously said, Another Love – Odell’s first single – impacted me greatly, making me fall in love with each of his other songs and with him as an artist.
It was on the UK music chart compilation CD, Now That’s What I Call Music! 85, right near the end of disc two – the section of before-mentioned CD that I tend to ignore as I often don’t know the songs at that point. However, on a test listen of the track, it made me curious: I had never heard of this artist or the song (though I had vague memory of it which probed me to check it out on YouTube properly.
The song’s beginning – the simple, isolated piano that already showcases the complexity of the emotions in Odell’s lyrics with each impressively layered note – had a sound that could have been a sunny song if it weren’t for the folorn tone. His voice was simplistic, growing hopeful as his notes raised then ended each line with a much quieter tone, the realisation resonating. Yet again, his distinctive voice and singing style fascinated me, as it wasn’t like anything I had quite heard before.
As the song builds, with more instrumentals coming in and emotive gospel choir (a particularly enjoyable feature of his other pleasing-to-the-ear single Can’t Pretend), as does the soul-stirring (at least from my standpoint): feeling of your throat catching and breath changing, which is often the signal of an excellent song. Tom’s voice grows louder with a firmer quality to it, the underlining of a statement he wishes to make through song – the emphasis on hard letters keeps the song growing, progressing to a beautifully noisy and almost aggressive final chorus. The emotion in the music, the piano, his voice – it all impacted me as a listener greatly, and it’s a track I can barely sit still to now. His exasperated tone in his final six lines makes you want to sing, want to shout, want to cry, and, oddly, want to bop around in your seat in time to the thumping music.
It’s a song that often makes me cry – in my sad or distressed times, I frequently use music as something to cry to, to trigger off the tears and allow me emotional release – and the sad storyline of using up all your love on someone you lost, leaving none left for those present, is a brilliant assistant.
After a few more listens after the first intitial introduction to it, I was hooked. It wasn’t quite the same as any other song I had heard before, and I had grown up on all kinds of music and genre. There was something about Another Love that was unique, and touched my metaphorical core. Tom Odell’s voice, I also found, was (and still is) just as unique, which seemed to make his musical efforts more distinctive.
His voice is what I would describe as ‘unpolished’; raw and without the autotune heard in many popular songs today. With allowing each strained note or vocal tremor to be heard in his tracks, you feel he is really there – not in a studio filled with buttons and technology that will perfect your real voice unecessarily – but live, like he is performing on stage. I did hear he had intended for his released music (digitally, on CD, etc.) to sound the same as it does on stage (don’t quote me on that), and indeed it does. I saw him live once (unfortunately not a Tom-centered show) and his voice was very much the same as it was on disc, so he fails to disappoint like some celebrities do when they often have to resort to lip-synching.
Another Love, to me, is a track to be praised – it may not be everyone’s taste, but it found it’s way on the music charts and I firmly agree that was where it belonged. Much like the rest of his other singles, and his newer releases from the 2016 album Wrong Crowd, I believe he is becoming bigger as an artist, which is hardly a bad thing after all the edited voices we hear on mainstream radio today, instead giving people a refreshed view of a true musician and his talent.