I’ve been a huge fan of Dodie Clark’s music for several years now. Since her new album ‘Build a Problem’ was supposed to come out on March 5th but got pushed, I thought it would be fun to go back through some of her earlier music.
One of the songs on this album that I’m talking about today was the first song that I ever learned to play on a guitar that I could sing along with. It was a new song back then, and it was super simple in the original arrangement as opposed to the finished recorded version that is actually on the album. If you want to check out my cover of ‘Sick of Losing Soulmates,’ you can click through the link, and you can watch me sing if you wish.
Otherwise, we’re just going to move on to the actual review.
‘Intertwined’ is one of those songs that I find myself randomly singing when I’m just doing chores or waiting in line, and I need to fill the silence.
It has very minimalistic lyrical content, but that plays to how genuine the song feels. The song’s narrator talks very simply about their anxieties and dependency on others that can both be a comfort zone and a crutch. I love the way she mixed warm imagery with imagery that is unsettling. A lot of what I take away from this song is needing external comfort to cope instead of finding that comfort within yourself.
There’s a video where Dodie Clark goes through the lyrics, and she talks a little bit about why she wrote them the way that she did and some of the imagery that gets used throughout the song so you can watch the video below if you want to see her talk a little bit more about this song.
There is something comforting about being childish and being dependent and innocent that you just don’t get to have when you grow up.
Being a teenager is such a weird time because you rely heavily on people and yet are not a child either–instead you’re in this weird in-between space. You’re not an adult, you don’t have unlimited freedom or any experience, but you still have to decide how to spend your time and what job to have and things like that, and it can be confusing to find yourself in that in-between suddenly.
So I like it this twisted, childish imagery in the song where it’s taking something that should be innocent and turning it into something more unsettling and gory and tragic.
I Have a Hole in My Tooth (And My Dentist is Shut)
Honestly, this is such an odd interlude in this album.
When Dodie first released a video about this song, I thought it was weird then, but recording it and putting it on the album is an interesting artistic choice.
It is just a 40-second interlude between two songs, so I won’t spend too much time talking about it. But it does have a fun, upbeat feel to it, and it brings up the mood of the album from the starting track ‘Intertwined’, which is more sombre.
I understand to a certain extent why it’s here, but mostly I forgot that it was on the album.
‘Absolutely Smitten’ is such a throwback song for anyone who has been a fan of Dodie for a long time. I remember when this was the end screen music for all of her videos.
And I remember how exciting it was to get a recording of the song to be released on the album. It’s a favourite for people who have been her fan for a little while.
I mostly just love the instrumentation on this song.
I love all the different elements that she added into it off of the ukulele melody in the original. I think it just captures the giddiness of falling in love and having a crush. It has an upbeat and bouncy feeling to it, but it also has these elements that make it feel very bright and joyful. This fits the theme of having a big crush on somebody and all of the excitement and giddiness that comes with the beginnings of a possible relationship.
I also like that it comes with the middle of the album.
It helps to elevate the middle section and make sure that there are more dynamics in the mood of the album because I know that we return to some of those sombre tones as it goes on. It’s a more simplistic song in terms of topic and lyrics, but I think that is useful in making sure that the album doesn’t get weighed down.
I know that Dodie can write insightful lyrics and deal with topics that are a little bit less conventional but having a puppy-love feeling song in the middle of the album helps to be a counterbalance to those more complex topics that are dealt with in the album.
Another short interlude that I think does an excellent job of shifting the mood of the album again.
Of these more sombre and inwardly reflective songs, I like that we are breaking it up with a few fun songs and then using this little interlude to shift back to something more complicated.
I also like that the song is called ‘Life Lessons’, which is also used to signal that the topics will be a little bit more grown-up in the following songs.
We’re going to be dealing with something that you just have to learn through experience, and people can tell you some stuff about it, but ultimately you have to experience it for yourself to understand—things like mental health and relationships of any kind.
We’re also getting into one of my favourite songs that Dodie has ever written.
Sick of Losing Soulmates
I adore the lyrics of the song.
It’s rare that I hear a song for the first time and instantly love it. Especially since when the song first came out, it wasn’t a fully recorded track and was just Dodie with an acoustic guitar.
I think what I love so much about this song is the sad sentimentality of it.
I’ve said many times before on this blog that I’m not good with being sentimental, and overly sentimental things don’t hit well with me. But a more sombre feeling to sentimentality, instead of glorifying the past, is something that I find easier to connect with.
I think we all know the feeling of when you’re younger how it’s easy to have best friends because you go to school. You see each other every day, and then when you become an adult, you have to work a lot harder at maintaining relationships with people because you’ve got a lot of other stuff going on, and it’s not just going to school every day.
What resonates with me is the idea of not romantic love but just feeling like it’s so much harder to find someone who connects with you and who understands you on a deeper level than just sharing small talk with a co-worker. This idea that a soulmate can be more complicated than only a love interest. I think soulmates are just people who connect with you on a deeper level and who make you comfortable in a way that you can only feel when you’re alone. Maybe I’m saying that as an introvert, but I’ve had friends where being alone and being with them feels the same way, and those are the people I am the closest with.
The only thing that I miss about being young has a structure to my social life. I went to school with classmates and people that I like to hang out with, and I went to the same places every day and saw the same people so it was really easy to stay connected with people. Whereas now I work mostly alone and for a long time lived on my own, so it’s a lot harder, at least in my experience, to remember to stay connected with people.
I’m not a very social person anyway, so that doesn’t help, but I feel like this is one of those songs that only takes on more significant meetings the older I get and the more time I spend with it.
I know that the song from Dodie’s perspective is a lot about living in the past and thinking about it and wishing that you were there; you’re missing the present moment. And I feel like the addition of strings fits with that feeling of being a very wistful about what used to be.
I’m not the kind of person who lives in the past, but I’m very much the person who lives in the future.
I’m not good at taking in my current surroundings and being super aware of where I am at a given moment because I’m a very goal-oriented person. I always have a future that I can picture, and I know that I want to get there, and I know what I have to do to get there, but I’m very impatient about the present because it’s not this fantastic future that I have in my head.
So I resonate with the line about it all being over and still asking yourself when something will happen. Because I do that a lot, I ask myself “when am I going to get to that goal that I want? When am I going to be the person in the life that I picture for myself?” And because of that, I missed out on a lot of stuff that I could be doing in the present with my life.
I like that this song is complex enough that it can be taken in those two different ways and that it can be both about living in the past as well as living in the future. Still, it’s ultimately about not living in the present and accepting that you are who you are in that moment in that place, and you just have to look around and be a part of it.
I love this album, and I think it has some of my favourite songs that Dodie is ever written.
I think a lot of it is about trying to accept things to have happened in the past and trying to dig yourself out of wallowing in some of it. It seems like someone who has recently become an adult and is trying to deal with the complexities of that transition.
If you listen to some of Dodie’s newer music, it has a very different feeling to it in terms of topic and just atmosphere to her songs. I feel like she’s come a long way from who she was in this album and the inner turmoil that is involved with it.
I’m very excited to listen to her new album and see where she goes sonically.