Odesza - The Last Goodbye Music Album Reviews

Odesza - The Last Goodbye Music Album Reviews
On their first album in five years, Odesza are at their most introspective, yet their production remains tailored to fill stadiums and trigger pyrotechnics.

There was a time when Odesza were basically part of the post-J Dilla beat world. Their 2012 debut, Summer’s Gone, has all the hallmarks of late-millennial, hip-hop-literate stoner music: side-chained bass subductions, pretty harps, druggy vocal samples, percussion that drags like beaded curtains. The Seattle duo wasn’t exactly making subtle music even then, and its textures and rhythms weren’t as sophisticated as those of Flying Lotus or even Bonobo, but it seemed part of a markedly different tradition than what was then starting to cement itself as “EDM.” Then, as EDM grew gentler and Odesza’s shows grew bigger, they started to move towards each other. 10 years later, Odesza are more a stadium act than a soundtrack to a blunted bliss-out at the beach, with pyrotechnic shows and songs only occasionally perfumed by atmosphere.

The Last Goodbye is the first Odesza album in five years, though members Clayton Knight and Harrison Mills teamed with Australian producer Golden Features for a solid 2020 album as Bronson that’s much funkier and more relaxed than anything they’ve made in a while with their main project. The 27-date North American tour whose kickoff coincides with the new album’s release is a typically grandiose affair involving an estimated 11 semitrucks worth of gear and a crew of 100. Yet on record, fatigue tugs at the music from beneath: The Last Goodbye is as much a weary, COVID-era self-reflection album as a homecoming parade.

Dance music is often at its most powerful when it tells you to keep your head up high, which is why so many people find solace in the likes of “I Will Survive” and “Call Your Girlfriend.” The most encouraging sentiment we find here, though, is relegated to opener “This Version of You,” with a one-woman choir by Julianna Barwick. It plays like a Malickian voiceover—cue pale light shining through swaying branches as Mills’ therapist imagines a “version of you” “welcoming you” and “saying yes.” It’s the most assured presence on an album filled with lost and confused souls whose voices sound burdened with a great sadness. A lot of these songs are about fraying relationships (“Forgive Me,” “Equal”), attempting to heal (“Wide Awake”), or being satisfied with small victories rather than lasting happiness (“Better Now”). Two songs reference sleeplessness, and not the night-out kind.

This is the duo’s most inward-looking album, yet the music pumps out of the speakers to rattle the nosebleeds. Knight and Mills have found themselves at their most introspective just as they’re primed to make a bigger splash on the stage than ever before. The Last Goodbye visualizes the fight between pandemic weariness and the desire to seize the fruits of the reopened world, and there’s a cognitive dissonance between the vocalists’ introspective mind-loops and the massive beats beneath them. The constant malaise keeps these songs from generating the ridiculous, heart-swelling feeling of transcendence that the best big-room dance music can achieve, while the duo’s relentless approach keeps the music from feeling particularly intimate.

The best moments on The Last Goodbye most often come when Odesza dial down the bluster and give themselves room to breathe. “Better Now,” with Portuguese singer MARO, slows the tempo to a skip, and its sing-song melody echoes Alanis Morissette or 1989-era Taylor Swift: both great role models for brash but emotionally complicated pop. The Icelandic composer Òlafur Arnalds is a good match for Odesza’s starry-eyed sensibilities, and they create the album’s most sustained stretch of quietude on the concluding “Light of Day,” slathering the record’s final seven minutes in strings and building slowly and organically to a climax rather than rushing heedlessly towards it.

The album’s title track—also its centerpiece and highlight—works because the two have found a vocalist who can hold her own against their sound at its most overwhelming, albeit one beamed in from nearly six decades ago. Bettye LaVette is credited as a featured artist, but her voice is sampled from 1965’s “Let Me Down Easy,” and Knight and Mills set to work creating a throne for it, a grand and filigreed thing that acts as confirmation of the greatness of its sample’s source. Whenever the duo threatens to use LaVette as just another soulful house sample, they do something new and different with her voice, and the track picks up surprising emotional steam as it sprawls across six minutes.

It’s similar in form and sentiment to “Pick Up,” by the German producer DJ Koze, which likewise used Gladys Knight’s voice secondhand. Like Odesza, Koze makes melodic, sentimental music versed in both house and left-field hip-hop, often based on samples, features, and samples-as-features. But on Koze’s best productions, the music and the emotions expressed by his singers are inextricable. On “Pick Up,” the beat hangs in thin air, pumping madly towards nowhere, as Koze reveals the vocal sample a few words at a time. When Knight finishes her sentence, it never fails to move me, and that’s before the beat kicks in seconds later. It’s the kind of moment that creates fireworks in the brain. Too often, The Last Goodbye only evokes the onstage kind.

Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Odesza - The Last Goodbye Music Album Reviews Odesza - The Last Goodbye Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on August 03, 2022 Rating: 5


Post a Comment