Dodie expresses a personal and diverse sound with "Human"
Photo By: Youtube
Julia Guerrein, Editor-in-Chief
Dorothy “Dodie” Clark released her newest EP, “Human” on Friday, January 18. The English singer-songwriter, author, and YouTuber announced the EP in September, with two of the tracks, “Human” and “If I’m Being Honest”, coming out before the full EP with a total of seven songs.
Dodie is known for her past songs about mental illness, such as “Secret for the Mad” and “6/10”, as well as discussing her own mental health on social media and in her book “Secrets for the Mad: Obsessions, Confessions, and Life Lessons” that was released in 2017. “Human” continued this theme, with all of the songs discussing personal, human struggles.
“Human” starts off with the short song “Arms Unfolding”, which begins with airy vocals that sound distant, singing “Hope I’m not tired of rebuilding/’Cause this might take little more/I think I’d like to try/Look at you/And feel the way I did before.” The lyrics go on to describe a relationship that has lost the passion, and how she will try to rebuild it, ending with “But here I am with arms unfolding/I guess it isn’t quite the end/Oh, partner in crime/I’m going to try/To fall in love with you/Again.”
The second tune, “Monster,” is much more upbeat and details a fight between two people who are angry, acting like “just a couple of monsters.” The lyrics early on point to the narrator becoming a monster, saying “I’m guessing that I’ve grown horns/I guess I’m human no more.” This song reflects the cruelty that humans can inflict upon each other, how transformations can occur in fits of passion. Behind the chorus are voices singing “We won’t eat our words/They don’t taste so good”, portraying pride and distaste for the self.
Two of the songs, “Not What I Meant” and “Human”, feature other artists, including Lewis Watson and Tom Walker, respectively. “Not What I Meant” describes the insecurities of not feeling good enough, singing, “Maybe I’d sound a little better/If my features were more sweet/Your mind’s already been made up/You saw my number and my number wasn’t good enough” and goes into “following the damn crowd” and settling in order to be noticed, “to be seen.” “Human” describes emotional and mental intimacy and relying on another person. Walker and Dodie sing most of the lyrics together, repeating “Paint me in trust/I’ll be your best friend/Call me the one/This night just can’t end.” The most revealing, literally and figuratively, verses are “Will you share your soul with me?/Unzip your skin and let me have a see.”
The next song, “She”, is about having a crush on a woman and has a slower and more poetic sound. Dodie is bisexual, and she has talked a lot about coming out and her struggles with her sexual identity. The song starts off with the line “Am I allowed to look at her like that?/Could it be wrong/When she’s just so nice to look at?” and continues later on with “I’d never tell/No, I’d never say a word/And oh it aches/But it feels oddly good to hurt.” With this song, Dodie is able to capture what it feels like to have a crush, but hers is a forbidden and taboo crush, which adds a layer to the complexity of emotions.
“If I’m Being Honest”, my personal favorite on the album, discusses a teenage crush, but more of being led on and then left. She sings, “You blew me up like a big balloon far too soon/I’m left a stuttering teen/How did I get here?/It’s all so quick, and I feel sick/Red pushing down on the green.” Dodie continues with the insecurities she is left with, singing “Could you love this?Will this one be right?/Well, if I’m being honest/I’m hoping it might/Could you love this?/Did you plan to fall?/Well, if I’m being honest/Oh, I bet it’s not that at all.”
The final song, “Burned Out”, speaks to chasing a dream and achieving it, but feeling burned out from pleasing others and feeling “fake.” This song is faster than the others, but is still soft as is typical of Dodie. Throughout the song she repeatedly reminds herself “But they love you/Over and over/They love you/Thousands and thousands of eyes/Just like mine/Aching to find who they are.” In the middle, she says, “Oh, how fitting for one so fake/Make me a fairy/Whatever it takes/And just like a tale my dream was a scam/You waited smiling for this/I am burnt out/I smell of smoke/It sips through her cracks and so I start to choke.” At the end of the song, she contemplates talking about it and then leaving, rather than dealing with the problem.
With this EP, Dodie is successful in creating beautiful and poetic music while conveying feelings that are not easy to describe. She is able to give listeners a hand to hold as she reaches into the some of the most secretive and complex parts of being human.