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  • ruby crowhurst


RATING: 6.5/10

Tom Odell, king of the emotional break-up ballad, is back with his new album monsters, on which we see another side of his musical capabilities.

At 16 songs long, monsters is quite the listening venture to take on, and the subject matter isn't exactly an easy listen either, so taking on the album does take some dedication. The album takes on heartbreak, mental health, and the general awful state of the world, which seem to be ongoing themes in albums that were written and produced within lockdown, like monsters was.

The album opens up straight away with 'numb', an ode to coping terribly after a break-up. However, the song feels distant from his usual acoustic melancholy style, with a thumping bass beat and electronic features to the instrumentals. This song sets the tone for the rest of the album, as we see these beats and features throughout many of the tracks throughout the project.

However, this newer style of music doesn't take away from the emotional vulnerability that Odell is incredibly good at portraying. There's a quality to his voice that is gritty and brutal, that allows the lyrics to hit home.

That being said, not every experiment on the album works as it should; there are some parts that to feel lost and confused, in the sense that you can tell where the tracks were going but just didn't quite get there. The new sound works best used to emphasise the style we know Tom Odell for, which can be displayed in harrowing 'lose you again', but strays away when trying to do something completely new.

Overall, it feels as if Odell is trying to fit in with the edgier pop that's currently popular with monsters, rather than delving further into his own talents. As a musician, experimentation feels like the right thing to do on every new release, but sometimes perfecting what is already good is actually the better option, and this is how it feels Tom Odell should have gone. However, the album is full of heart and passion, which is far more difficult to establish than the musical styling. So, as long as Odell keeps putting his soul into his music, it'll always be relatively good, but here's hoping he sways back towards his more acoustic roots for his next release.


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