The musical equivalent of an outstretched hand
Minty Slater-Mearns
13:50 26th October 2022

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Over the last few years, as conversations surrounding mental health have started to open up, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tom Odell has been incredibly candid about his own struggles with anxiety. His fifth studio effort entitled Best Day Of My Life is among other things, a reflection of his experiences and if there’s one thing he knows how to do probably better than anybody else in the business at present, it’s produce an absolutely soul crushing piano ballad.

Across 12 songs, Odell proves that less is more with his vocals accompanied by nothing other than the sound of the piano. The stripped back nature of this record gives his capability as a songwriter the time to shine with some of his most powerful and intimate lyrics to date being featured throughout its duration. ‘Monday’ is one of the heavier tracks on the record, a track about pressing through life when every day produces the same feeling of dread you get as the weekend draws to a close. It opens with the line ‘I stood there waiting in the rain / someone jumped in front of a train / they must have been in so much pain’, it’s quite obviously one of the sadder tracks on the album but the fact that the singer is totally unafraid to write about something so devastating and frame such a horrid feeling in a weirdly quite beautiful way just goes to show that his knack for writing has only grown and improved over time. 

There’s several carefully placed instrumentals acting as interludes of sorts that provide the opportunity to digest what listeners have heard so far, although only short they’re a pleasant reminder of the foundations upon which this record is built upon. 

Closing track ‘Smiling All The Way Back Home’ is one of the standouts on a seemingly flawless record. About the early period when you first start seeing someone new, it captures that dizzying feeling so well: the staying up late because you don’t want to pause the conversation even for a second, ordering one last pint even know you know you shouldn’t but not caring because it allows for ten minutes more time spent in their company and of course, the stupid cheesy grin that makes a new home for itself on your face because you haven’t felt like this in forever and you forgot just how good it feels. 

Overall, Best Day Of My Life is Tom Odell at his finest. It feels like the musical equivalent of an outstretched hand and the kind reminder from a friend that just like he sings on the title track ‘everything’s going to be alright’ and for once, that sentence doesn’t feel too far from the truth.

Best Day Of My Life is out October 28th

Grab your copy of the Gigwise print magazine here.

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