Spin #77 : To A Stranger : Odette
SUNDAY DROP - SPIN #77
Welcome to our 77th Sunday drop from the R'nR with Rylo collection! If you didn't know who that old bearded gent was in the background of our 'It's Vinyl Friday' socials, it was Walt Whitman. He was hugely influential to Odette in regards to her lyrics and her album, 'To A Stranger' is actually the name of a poem - check it out below.
To A Stranger - Walt Whitman 1819-1892
Passing stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you,
You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking. (It comes to me as of a dream),
I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you,
As is recall'd as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured,
You grew up with me, were a boy with me or a girl with me,
I ate with you and slept with you, your body has not become yours only nor left my body mine only,
You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass. You take of my beard, breast, hands, in return,
I am not to speak to you, I am to think of you when I sit alone or wake at night alone,
I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again,
I am to see to it that I do not lose you.
Our children are already in bed when we decided to spin this one because they had such a fun filled couple of days. Our son had his karate lessons with Grammy and Gubby and our daughter had a special day with Night Kat Kiz and I. We also got to celebrate a good friends birthday party for their little one and you know how busy a children's party can be. We have a big week ahead of us but I don't want to think about that too much. Instead, I want to get lost in this record with you all because I feel that it is an important one to have in your collection. I thought that wifey and I would put this one on the turntable in the loungin (loungeroom) and sit back and relax with the heater on.
ALBUMS OF NOTE (2018): Heaven and Earth - Kamasi Washington, Prequelle - Ghost, The Sciences - Sleep, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino - Arctic Monkeys, Sweetener - Ariana Grande, Some Rap Songs - Earl Sweatshirt, Golden Hour - Kacey Musgraves, Firepower - Judas Priest, Evolution - Disturbed, Reverence - Parkway Drive, To Drink From The Night Itself - At The Gates, Defy - Of Mice & Men
Image: Georgia Odette Sallybanks
It's time to #dropthestylus on this debut album - 'To A Stranger'!
Don't worry if you haven't heard of Odette or her music before. That is part of the reason why I love doing this blog and bringing potentially, new albums to your attention. I owe a lot of my musical likes to my friends and periods of time as I've grown up. This one for me came at a time when I was in between career's and buying in 100% to that said life. However, it quickly started to change when we had our son on the way and looking back was quite a busy and stressful time. Not to say that now isn't stressful or busy, but it's different now. Maybe because we are slightly older and been spent more time in the pressure cooker of life. I'm excited for you to let me know what you think of this album because the first time I was introduced to it, I knew that I had to add it to the collection. It was difficult because at the time we didn't have a lot of money to splurge on 'wants' but I'm glad that we have a copy in our collection. I haven't added a copy of her follow up album to our collection yet so Odette if you are reading this, please send my little family a signed copy!
There is an initial calmness that washes over me as I hear the first notes of opening track 'COLLIDE'. It could have been the right song at the right moment but I am instantly drawn back into her world. The best record sleeves are the ones that have something fascinating to stare at while the record is spinning. Odette's 'To A Stranger' is one of those album covers that makes you look at the front and then see the original painting on the reverse, and then flip back again. It also has a lyric sheet included and that is a big plus for me. I enjoy the similarities between Meg Mac and Missy Higgins across the piano playing and vocals but also the individuality of her sound and lyricism shining through. Perfect album to put on and enjoy while sitting with the lights lower than usual and creating a relaxing listening environment. We aren't able to because the children would probably knock them over or destroy them, but plants also help create that environment.
I think it is also the crisp vocals and production levels that capture my attention and makes me want to hear more. I remember hearing this album upon its release in 2018 and stopping what I was doing. It was recommended to me by my friend (Dr Jazz, he is not really a doctor but he is really Jazz). The backing beat and backing vocals provide layers of depth and would sound great live at a smaller intimate venue.
Not one that our children get up and dance too but more of an album that makes you reflect on the good in your lives. 'LIGHTS OUT' has the right amount of darkness behind it and uplift once her vocals come through. I really like the backing beats as they come through the 4 x speakers and her passion behind the lyrics. There was a nice moment during the week where our son got to experience what life at primary school is going to be like next year. The school organised a 'Teddy Bear picnic' for the incoming kids and they got to explore the school with a year 5 buddy for a couple of hours. He was so excited for it and at the time it came to head off in the group away from his parents, he did it with a thumbs up and a wink. Proud moment there for Night Kat Kiz and I.
There is strength here and also vulnerability on 'WATCH ME READ YOU'. I even said as this was spinning just now, "This is such a great song, isn't it Night Kat" and she responded with, "yep". Bob Dylan would be happy with the amount of poetry and love put into this track. It has us following along with the lyrics closely with it's spoken word/slap poetry style and changes just as you start to get comfortable. The chorus shows off Odette's talent even further and I can see why this was such a standout song. Click here to see the video. It has been five years since she released 'To A Stranger' and recently celebrated with a small tour of her debut album. Hopefully one day we get opportunity to see her perform live because she has that something special. Plus when I see the title of this song it makes me think of books and if you know me, you know that I'm always in between a book or two. I give myself a challenge to read 3-4 books a year and because I picked such a long book (Stephen Kings - The Stand) it might make it harder to achieve that this year. Does reading 2-4 children's books each night for their bedtime count?
Another artist that you should look at is Lisa Mitchell. She has an album called 'A Place to Fall Apart' and the sound on 'COME CLOSE' made me think of that for some reason. The feeling of floating in a calm body of water and not stressing about what comes next. A song that links Side A well without being outshone by other bigger songs. The stylus is moving along the record nicely and I am really happy with this pressing and the flatness. Some records today pass QC and I really don't know how due to warp or other issues.
'DO YOU SEE ME' is the last song on Side A and probably my favourite track on the album. "So tell me do you see me? For everything I am for, can you see the flowers on the wall? I wish it would be easy, to focus on things I want. To just be still and rise my heart". A song about being noticed and counted and that it's nice to feel special sometimes. Lately we have had a lot of moments with our son that sometimes you can forget that our daughter hasn't experienced as much with just mum and dad. We had a chance to have lunch in a cafe with our daughter and to be honest, might have been the second or third time in her two years of life that we have done that. It was a nice moment for all of us and she felt special in her Bluey dress and some mum and dad time. Never underestimate moments and the want of feeling special, you deserve it. That brings us to the end of Side A and I will stand up now to lift the stylus and flip the LP. What was your favourite song so far from 'To A Stranger'?
Is there a darkness on the opening song of Side B or someone who has been given a perspective change? 'FRACTURED GLASS' is one of those songs that slowly builds you into the second act and provides a moment to get up and dance too. Odette's lyrics are cleverly written and I like the verse of, "Sometimes it's like my lungs burst and I get it every time we converse. Oh, light that blinds and shatters my mind. How do I make you see white?I am intensified". If you thought that there wasn't enough poetry or spoken word on this album, well look no further. 'LOTUS EATERS' is another spoken word style song blended with harmonic vocals. It feels like a theatrical monologue song from an actress on stage and the use of piano pacing really highlights her vocals when she sings, "Give me life, give me love, give me lust...sorry I know I'm asking too much". Probably favourite track on Side B and she has tailored the tracklisting well. Some artists tend to put all of there singles at the start to lead the album off and tapers off towards the end. I don't feel that is the case on this album, actually I don't feel there is a bad song. Let me know what you feel in comments below or on our social pages.
'ONYX' is a track that I'd like to get the artist's background on and I feel that there isn't enough coverage on this album. I don't know whether it was the label not being able to promote it on a larger scale, but it deserves a wider acclaim. It is also the only song on the album to feature another artist on vocals. Next up is a song that you might have heard on the radio called, 'TAKE IT TO THE HEART'. The opening harmonies and beat perk your ears up and her quicker style of singing in parts is done well. I like the lyrics on this one and have included them as the featured choice below. One to listen to if you are looking for a self-confidence boost as it's easy to get overwhelmed in this crazy world. One that makes me look at Night Kat Kiz as it's playing and smile.
A song on the album that might not have the following of the mega hits is up next and called, 'YOU'. It starts off with music that could have been plucked from a 90's Prince album before a different style of singing comes in. I would describe it as a more smokey sound, low when it needs to be and vulnerable, almost quiet. It sounds great when she lifts those vocals singing, "Afterglow". Lovely song that needs to be sung to your significant others. The ending then has a Tash Sultana influence (that's what I felt anyway). Tash Sultana is another artist that you need to get into, especially if you like multi-instrumental artists that sound like Santana on the guitar.
'PASTEL WALLS' is the final track on the album and is such a soothing ending. Bruce Springsteen would be pleased with this song and could envision him singing this one (I know, weird thoughts creep in sometimes when you listen to music). It has more acoustic -solo feelings to it and this is where I feel it sounds influenced by Missy Higgins a lot. A lovely song to finish the album and one that leaves you wanting more from the artist.
In Odette's notes on the album she thanks everyone and says that if she can reach even one person, that is truly a great privilege and that she hopes she can continue to write songs that reach you. I hope that you enjoyed this weeks spin and were in a happier mindset after listening to this one. If you loved the album, why not reach out to Odette and let her know. I'm sure she would take comfort in hearing from her fans. Hug your loved ones and savour the good moments. Time to boil the ketta and make another cuppa, enjoy the rest of your weekend and keep spinning records!
"Re-examine all that you have been told....dismiss that which insults your soul" - Walt Whitman
Until our next Spin, be Kind to people who like poetry and be Kind to your Wax!
SPEED PLAYED AT
33 1/3 RPM
MATTER OF TIME - MEG MAC (2022)
DO YOU SEE ME
RATING OUT OF 5
WHAT'S INSIDE THE RECORD SLEEVE
1 X BLACK LP, LYRIC SHEET AND LOVING THE ARTWORK AND REVERSE COLOURS ON BACK OF SLEEVE. OIL PAINTING OF ODETTE
"I cannot breathe, I cannot breathe. Sometimes I get a little bit overwhelmed. Then I can see that my heart still beats, I got nothing but Power, I'll strike you like lightning" ~ Take It to the Heart - Side B
LP / SIDE
WATCH ME READ YOU
DO YOU SEE ME
ONYX (FEATURING LANKS)
TAKE IT TO THE HEART
Odette performing live