Fresh from releasing her second album, Herald, Odette runs us through the tracks on this emotive piece of work. 

Odette’s Herald may have only been released this week, but it’s already shaping up to be one of the standout Aussie albums of the year.

Along with her breathtakingly honest songwriting and flawless vocals, Odette’s candid take on topics like mental illness and relationship turmoil is sure to resonate with listeners everywhere.

In the following track-by-track, Odette takes us deeper into the songs on Herald, sharing the inspiration behind each one.

Check out ‘Herald’ by Odette:

Odette takes us through Herald

Content Warning: The discussion of ‘Foghorn’ by Odette addresses suicide.  

If you or someone you know is affected by the following story, you are not alone. To speak to someone, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

‘Herald’

As the song that the album has been named after, ‘Herald’ opens the record with a densely textured exploration of the intensity of frustration, of feeling trapped by it and, even more importantly, recognising that I want to grow and change. I wanted the listener to be thrown into intensity immediately. Insect noises, a motif of the record, are the only grounding sound in this song and serve as a sonic guide throughout the narratives of the album. At first, ”Herald’ can seem like a song specifically about my own rage. Whilst this is true, ‘Herald’ is more so about my realisation of interpersonal toxicity and a yearning for something more.

‘Dwell’

Akin to its title, ‘Dwell’ is about fixation. It’s about ruminating thoughts and how I used drugs to numb them. This song was what the first draft of the album was originally named after because this song captures exactly where I was last year and the years before that. There are distorted electronic noises paired with piano, textured synths and fragmented chorus structures all to show a mental fragmentation.

Check out ‘Dwell’ by Odette:

‘Trial By Fire’

Sampling Ravel’s ‘Miroirs III. Une Barque Sur L’Ocean, ‘Trial By Fire’ is sonically cognitively dissonant. This song was a comfort to me over the years and I would fall asleep listening to classical music as a child. However, despite the soothing motif throughout the track, this song is about rage. It’s a confrontational track I wrote for my parent. Writing this was a catharsis.

‘What I Know Is Not Enough’

This song came about when I was staying in New York. I was dealing with a pretty traumatic breakup and more so a complete mental breakdown. I was undiagnosed and isolated. The track itself is quite a simple pop song, with added orchestral embellishments to honour the romanticised lenses someone like me can put on to process great stress. This song is the first track where I really verbally state that I can feel there is something wrong with me and deeply yearn for clarity and knowledge whilst being stuck in a place of despair.

‘I Miss You, I’m Sorry’

This song was written for my ex. I wanted to address our turbulent past. I wanted to be responsible. The song is simple, just piano and natural percussion with slight orchestral embellishments. ‘I Miss You, I’m Sorry’ is one of the least metaphorical songs and stays literal because I needed to get to the point. I needed to address my own mistakes.

‘Foghorn’

I wrote this song after my first suicide attempt in 2019. Still undiagnosed, I was in a reactionary state and very unwell. ‘Foghorn’ describes being in a place in my mind which felt like a memory graveyard. The song isn’t supposed to be damning and is actually a statement about yearning, like the entire record. This is the most intensely cinematic and dramatic song on the record. Layered flutes and timpani’s were used to give a sense of intensity in the final crescendo of the song, contrasting to the light piano played in the verses and in the outro.

‘Feverbreak’

Probably the most lyrically contrived song on the record, ‘Feverbreak’ is an honest song about resenting a partner. The song begins with metaphor after metaphor about feeling trapped and feeling as if something is wrong. I wanted to use imagery akin to some sort of horror movie. A girl on a dock, pulled into the water, seaweed wrapping around her throat. I was frightened of the reality and of myself. The final chorus is very much another statement of yearning to break free and connect again.

‘Amends’

This song is a break from the emotional intensity. It’s a song about my happy place. I close my eyes and I’m on a cliff in Kynance, Cornwall. I let the wind and grass caress my entire body and honestly this is the only place I feel at peace. ‘Amends’ is a groove textured with saxophones and electronic percussion. It’s sultry and comforting.

Check out ‘Amends’ by Odette:

‘Why Can’t I Let The Sun Set?’

This song is about the feeling of being stuck, of not knowing how to grow and change. I was undiagnosed when this song was written, still in therapy and on medication, but not as educated as I am now. I felt trapped in a never-ending cycle of trauma memories and reactions. This song is another one of the more cinematic songs on the album. It builds to layers of flutes, trombones and timpanis. The crescendo embodies a younger self desperate to burst through layers of fog into clarity.

‘Wait For You’

A simple song, ‘Wait For You’ was written for my mother. It details my emotions towards her and more so how it feels to have been let down repeatedly in my life. The tone of the instrumental is sweet, simple and polite to contrast the emotional intensity of the lyrics.

‘Mandible’ 

Fraternal twin to ‘Herald’, ‘Mandible’ is a song that uses imagery of bones, taxidermy and natural environments. At the time of creation, I was desperate for change. I wanted so badly to connect. I want to know what it is to feel romance and excitement and lust. I wanted to leave behind everything that the record details. The song is comprised of plucked strings, manipulated organ synths, piano and orchestral strings. There are subtle, varying textures throughout that live under the instruments. This song is the pinnacle of my yearning for a shift from being overwhelmingly introspective, to being able to connect with the world and people around me without fear.