a new era of experimentation and excellence
Charlotte Grimwade
12:00 29th September 2022

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It’s been a hectic couple of years for singer-songwriter dodie. After releasing her debut album, Build A Problem, in May 2021, she’s balanced going on a highly anticipated tour, posting monthly videos to YouTube, and writing new music. The latter has resulted in Hot Mess. The four track EP encapsulates nearly everything about life in your mid-twenties, from dating and relationships to loneliness and regret. 

Hot Mess calls for a new era in dodie’s career. The past decade has witnessed a drastic change in the artist’s online and musical aesthetic. Long gone are the days of ukuleles, sunflowers and ‘dodie yellow’, with both Build A Problem and Hot Mess signifying a shift towards a greater sense of musical maturity. That’s not to say that dodie has become detatched from her listeners and online audience – she still dabbles in YouTube, a platform which played a key role in her music industry origin story and this EP in particular, with a couple of the tracks coming from a song-a-month series she did last year. Throughout her career, dodie has engaged with deep emotions and subject matter, all whilst employing clever harmonies and beautifully simplistic lyrics. Hot Mess doesn’t divert from all these components that make her music so special. 

Hot Mess starts with its impactful titular track. Released as a single earlier this month, the song is simultaneously upbeat and sinister. Carefully considered dissonance and string parts convey the continued musical motifs running between Build A Problem and this new EP. dodie has the innate ability to tell a story and construct deeply personal characters through her music. The theme of ambivalence and awareness of imperfection runs throughout the track. dodie’s impressive vocal agility is demonstrated in the song’s last few lines, preparing the listener for an EP that promises to contend with deep-seated insecurities and frustrations. 


dodie expertly jumps between tempos and moods during these four vastly different songs, though certain shifts can occasionally be jarring. Listeners are transported from the almost film-soundtrack inspired swelling strings in 'Hot Mess' to the much more pop-influenced bass line of 'Got Weird'. However, such contrasts only act as a testament to dodie’s creativity and musical dexterity. 

Although dodie experiments throughout this EP, 'Got Weird' is the culmination of her witty lyrics and clashing musical styles. “Why do karma and girls love to bite me?”, sings dodie, highlighting the complex emotions and contradictions present in a mid-twenties existence. With an almost electronic, Billie Eilish-sounding ending, followed by an effective tempo change and return to acoustic instruments, 'Got Weird' truly encompasses the energy of this EP and dodie’s future music. Describing the uncomfortable aspects of modern dating culture, the song’s addictive bass and drum rhythms culminate to form easily one of the catchiest tracks dodie’s released in the past couple of years.

'Lonely Bones' and 'No Big Deal (I Love You)' sharply contrast the first half of 'Hot Mess'. The EP’s penultimate track, 'Lonely Bones' is a charming lullaby. Harmonies effortlessly ebb in and out, with gentle drums and a crescendo of strumming strings allowing a gradual build up. Like a group dance, dodie and others chime in on repeated refrains in this ironically communal exploration of loneliness. 

'No Big Deal (I Love You)', however, lets dodie stand on her own two feet, despite the heartbreakingly devastating nature of her lyrics about a lost relationship. “God I love you, says not one of us ever”, she sings, wistfully reminiscing the everyday practices of a relationship that just wasn’t quite right. As dodie maintains perfect tone, accompanied by a sombre piano that almost harks back to older tracks like When, listeners end the EP reminded of the core reasons behind the culture of being a Fleabag-inspired hot mess. The EP closes on a message of simultaneous despair and hope, as a charming sense of humanity prevails.

Hot Mess fully encapsulates the uniquely perceptive nature of dodie’s music. It maintains the sense of intimacy and honesty she has developed with her fans, all whilst reflecting her cemented identity as a musician who can do it all – from sweeping strings, to lilting lullabies and dark pop hits. So, as she embraces being a ‘hot mess’, dodie also embraces a new era of experimentation and musical excellence.

Hot Mess arrives 30 September 

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Photo: Press