Emotional Cadence: Finding Resolution in Odina’s ‘What I Never Told You’

Hailing from the Catalan region of Spain, the now-London living artist, Odina is all set to release her debut album, What I Never Told You on 21st August. The record is a culmination of years of work from the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, and is intrinsically a confessional project that deals with everything from heartache to overcoming insecurity, but dealt with in an empowered, fiery manner that is definitively Odina. The collection of songs that lead the album’s release have all offered compelling insight into the themes and ideas which run through the twelve tracks; ‘1,2,3,4‘ is the torchbearing gamechanger, ‘Please‘ wrestles with despondency but feels overwhelmingly reverent, ‘Heartache‘ is loaded with heavy feeling while trying its best to avoid feeling anything at all, and latest track ‘Many Things‘ effortlessly combines delicate, tentative truths with a deep and urgent uproar of personal profession.

Alongside self-producing, writing and recording the album herself, Odina carefully crafted the creative vision for this album campaign. Conceptualising, styling and honing a visual identity that is remarkably singular and bold in its design and aesthetic. The creative runs through every music video, every still, every piece of album art, every photoshoot, even the promotional imagery on social media. The campaign has been delivered during a global pandemic, albeit much of the content was conceived and finalised ahead of current times, yet one can’t ignore the impressive nature and power of a brilliantly imagined concept, especially when delivered in times of great uncertainty. Very few artists in modern music today deliver on their promises of authenticity, but Odina neither fits in that category nor does she subscribe to the trivialised norms of music making in 2020. Odina has created a world for her music to exist in, visually and sonically it’s the mark of a talented, prodigious mind, an independent artist who bears the genius and curio of true individuality that could eventually see her referenced side by side the likes of Angel Olsen, Julia Jacklin and Weyes Blood.

Darkly wry, ‘1,2,3,4‘ marries devastatingly open lyricism with a sharp vulnerability, while the song teeters on the edge of breakdown throughout, somehow a desperate sense of hope continues to hold out, this is the crux of Odina’s songwriting: Her ability to play with emotional contexts, to find light in often dark places. It’s a theme which persists and is present continuously through her work. The accompanying visuals for ‘1,2,3,4’ play more into this construct, as Odina explains: “This song is about how love is a game that may inevitably lead to mutual self-destruction. Sometimes ideas come to me all at once, musically and visually and in this case after I wrote ‘1,2,3,4’ I knew the visual had to feature a knife, for this sort of twisted game concept. In the video, we played with the juxtaposition of darker elements and lighter ones, with the contrast between the knife and the red glitter acting as a visual representation of love as a double-edged sword.

Please‘ is quintessential Odina, rollicking reverbed guitars set in an atmospheric milieu. The difference here, is that the stakes are higher, the instrumentation strikes harder, the vocals cut deeper, and the emotional impact is relentless. Odina has never sounded so assured nor has she sounded more anguished. The striking sparseness of the instrumentation furthers this feeling, causing the words to carry even more weight because of this. ‘Please’ resides at the peak of Odina’s emotional campaign, it explores the album’s main theme: Figuring out life as a young adult. Speaking of the track, Odina said: “This song is about the terrible feeling of losing oneself, of losing purpose and as a consequence feeling like you’re disappearing from existence.

Immersing deeper into melancholy, ‘Heartache‘ was the next release—which also happens to be the closing track of the record. A step into country canter, ‘Heartache’ blends orchestral shades with washed-out horns and contemporary ambient folk production. Odina transitions between maddening, volatile verses and frantic choruses, in accordance with the song’s subject matter the intensity of emotion can’t be contained while contrastingly she sings of the opposite. The visuals for this track were a collaboration with acclaimed Spanish actor Àlex Maruny, although in this case Maruny takes the director’s chair. In-keeping with Odina’s already established aesthetic, the video employs a surrealist, Lynchian-esque tone in its attempt to literalise the feeling of loss and upending after experiencing a breakup.

Staying true to her roots, current single ‘Many Things‘ showcases Odina’s proficiency in crafting exquisite balladry. The track remains resolute to the ambient, languid soundscapes of the album’s core DNA whilst gradually building, bracing and bursting into a pressure cooker of clever slow burn and emotional release. ‘Many Things,’ in many ways, is the statement track of the record. From play the song is already in motion, a technique that hooks a listener’s ear without any context or repeal, unravelling a narrative of intensely passionate contention—it is a statement of daring, a statement of intent, and a statement impossible to overlook. The song’s middle section masterfully wields the pinnacle of its powers; repeated phrases merge with rhythmic discord, an amplification of audible unrest challenges the song’s already woven-in dynamics, and this all works to create an electrifying breakdown of hypnotic grandeur. A stunning silencer of emotive implosion.

These four highlighted tracks encompass and interpret the album’s title in a way that most potently captures Odina’s objective, What I Never Told You isn’t just a perfect phrase to describe the thoughts and feelings discussed in the album, but an urgent and necessary vehicle to deliver uncomfortable personal truths. It’s the feelings we bottle up, the questions we keep to ourselves, the mind battles we survive, What I Never Told You voices all of those unspoken thoughts and transforms its release into a validating beacon of resolution and exultation.

With very little wait left before Odina’s first album hits the digital and physical shelves, it is safe to say that the standing of her output to date leaves a strong impression and a lingering want to hear the complete collection, together as one cohesive piece of work—and the beauty is, we will. And we welcome the opportunity with open arms.

Odina’s debut album, What I Never Told You is due for release on 22nd August. The record is available for Pre-Save and Pre-order now, find out more here.

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Charlotte Holroyd
Editor, Creator and Founder of Bitter Sweet Symphonies. A lover of music and cinema, who's constantly attending gigs and in search of a great experience.

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