Tom Odell once said ‘Having your heart broken makes for good songs.’ This idea that great art comes from misery has been a calling card and somewhat of a cliché, but Tom Odell makes great art. His recent single ‘Sad Anymore’ seems to be a sad song about reversing the process of heartbreak but is also a testament to the deep emotional intelligence of his song-writing ability.
Since setting the blueprint with ‘Another Love’ and ‘Heal’, his songs seem to echo each other in meaning and melody, as he finds a way to reflect painful emotions in a new light. Odell made his name as being delicate, sensitive, bedsit, and late-hour listening, but ‘Sad Anymore’ detects with the artist a tonal shift to something explicit, prosaic quality, and dare it be said…. uplifting? The song explores the feeling of longing to live closer to the light ‘look at all the happy people, what are they doing that I’m not doing.’
Retrospective, aphoristic and harsh in reaches, the narrative punchline: how does he become like the other people? Is there a tone of belligerent questioning here? Odell doesn’t intend to reach conclusions or resolutions, but knows his home is in the search for happiness, honesty, an increased sense of reality, and escape from loneliness?
Odell wrote in a recent Instagram post he hoped the song helped ‘’the people who feel sad sometimes too might feel a little less lonely too.” Perhaps that’s what it’s all about, nuanced explorations of emotions – be it heartbreak, loneliness, or quiet optimism – with which the listener can authentically connect. Odell like Joni Mitchell or Jeff Buckley makes music for the listener to get introspective, yet he’s also announcing to the world he’s no longer just a sad artist but someone trying to break through the stereotype of the moody melancholic artist.
Sonically, the song is quite interesting, using choral chanting to provide an anthemic and ethereally resolute song. ‘Best Day of My Life’ his previous 2022 single was disconcerting for its euphoric quality as he’s caught a feeling of joy (‘’Am I in a dream, crazy as it seems.”) He made headlines recently for performing ‘Another Love’ at a Railway Station in Bucharest Romania as Ukrainian refugees arrived, as the 2013 hit became an unlikely anthem of the political world crisis.
Meanwhile, Odell’s recent singles reveal an unlikely and unremittingly original take on happiness and its relationship to its opposite: Odell wants to find the best days, the untold stories, and unheard narratives, to recreate himself as an artist, and therefore also as a person. His message is deceptively simple, he quite literally doesn’t want to feel sad anymore.