A Review of Dodie’s ‘Human’ From A Long-Time Listener


Dorothy “Dodie” Clark is an English singer-songwriter and YouTube personality. She first started uploading original songs and covers to her channel doddleoddle over seven years ago. The singer has three EPs currently available for streaming and purchase: Intertwined (2016), You (2017), and now Human (2019).

In her seven years on YouTube, dodie has documented her musical process, sexuality, mental health journey, and relationships. She has a second vlogging channel, doddlevloggle, on which she uploads talking videos, “get ready with me” makeup videos, and fun vlogs with her friends.

I’ve been watching doddleoddle since about 2013, when she had less than 700K subscribers. Now she has nearly 3 million followers between both channels. Dodie has always been a shoulder to lean on, a role model to learn from, and a comedian to laugh with. When You was released in 2017, I thought she would never be able to write anything better—so when Dodie announced her next EP, I was cautious.

I was pleasantly surprised, though, and I’ve had her single “Monster” on repeat for weeks.
Each song can be interpreted and heard in different ways, so take what I feel with a grain of salt.

1. “Arms Unfolding”
This one was completely produced by Dodie. It’s the shortest song on the EP, and it speaks to the experience of learning to fall in love with someone again. The English language doesn’t have a word for giving someone who hurt you a second chance because you both have grown from experience, but somehow Dodie is able to formulate these emotions into beautiful harmonies and instrumentals.

This song’s instrumentals are minimal, so it almost sounds like it’s acapella: Dodie hums in the background and sings on top. Oh, and one more thing to make you love this song even more? Dodie hid snippets of this song in each of her vlogs for several months. You can see it come together here!

2. “Monster”
This second song is definitely my personal favorite on the EP. It’s upbeat and a huge metaphor about being a monster to someone once they stop loving you. Dodie says the song was inspired by a specific moment when she sat across from someone and realized they had started to hate her. Instead of approaching the person in the song, she visualizes herself as a devilish creature with “spikes [growing] from [her] skin.”

Here, Dodie really showcases her ability to turn a metaphor into a melody with real meaning. On the surface, this is a total breakup anthem. Underneath the lyrics, though, it’s about being introverted and purposely avoiding confrontation by imagining oneself as the bad guy because somehow that’s easier.

This track’s production is the total opposite of its predecessor. “Monster” uses electronic sounds as well as a full band. The song feels louder, fuller, and simply more powerful.

Dodie performed a raw, live version of “Monster” for Vevo DSCVR and filmed a music video for the single. Both give a different connotation to the song and are worth checking out!

3. “Not What I Meant” (feat. Lewis Watson)
This song opens with a sweet acoustic guitar melody before Dodie and Lewis Watson begin singing. “Not What I Meant” has a full band as well, with strings and piano, but sounds softer than “Monster.”

Originally titled “Bitter Content,” this song explores social media’s bittersweet relationship with success, art, and personal validation. She says the song is about a feeling she can’t pinpoint—is it regret? Hatred? Disappointment? Regardless, Dodie writes the feeling in an accessible and approachable way for her audience.

4. “Human” (feat. Tom Walker)
On the surface, “Human” sounds like a devoted love song with lyrics like “I want to give you your grin, so tell me you can't bear a room that I'm not in.” Dodie says “Human” was meant to be a love song, but upon reading her lyrics she realized how unhealthy this fantasy of codependence was.

This song solely relies on string instruments and vocals. Dodie wanted to keep it organic to push the metaphor further.

5. “She”
Just like any other long-time Dodie fan, “She” has a special place in my heart. The song was uploaded on her YouTube channel back in 2014, and the original video just shows Dodie sitting on her bed with her guitar. She doesn’t look at the camera; she just sings.

Dodie remastered the song for this EP and boy, am I thrilled about it. She officially came out as bisexual in 2016 with a video titled “I’m bisexual WOO," but “She” was an early indication to subscribers that she isn’t straight.

The song is sweet and sad, examining a girl who is beginning to fall in love with another girl and doesn’t know what that means. She sings, “Am I allowed to look at her like that?” and “She smells like lemongrass and sleep / she tastes like apple juice and peach.” When I was 18 and this song was uploaded to her YouTube channel, I had just come out to my parents as bisexual myself. It was so validating to see someone I looked up to say the same things I had been thinking for years.

The EP version of “She” includes more string instruments. It’s beautifully raw and meaningful and almost sad toward the end: “But to her I taste of nothing at all.”

I honestly cried upon hearing it remastered. A song that was so special and important to me sounding professional and getting an even bigger platform was—and is—incredible.
6. “If I’m Being Honest”
Inspired by a childhood bullying experience, Dodie tells a story about the time when some popular girls played a mean joke on her: they told her to ask out her crush and embarrassed her in front of everyone. The song seems to be written as Dodie’s reflection on the experience as an older woman.

This song’s staccato is calm and warm, using piano and plucked string instruments (mainly violin and cello based on this live version).

7. “Burned Out”
In the EP’s final song, Dodie writes about a robotic version of herself that malfunctions due to her depersonalization and derealization. Both mental illnesses make it feel like their sufferer is dreaming all the time; nothing feels real, and one may feel distant from everything around them.

The lyrics paint an image of Dodie at a meet-and-greet with fans, but she feels like she’s let them down by depersonalizing. She sings, “You waited smiling for this” and “Don't build hope on something broken,” implying that her fans are going to be disappointed meeting her and seeing her perform.

Dodie repeats the line “Maybe I’ll talk about it / I’ll never talk about it,” pinpointing the idea that it’s too complicated and painful to discuss the damage her mental health has done to her. Dodie says she often feels guilty for dissociating because she loves what she does; it just takes a toll. This is the perfect song to end the EP as the last line of the song is “I might just leave soon.” What a perfect, poetic, and profound ending.

You can check out Human on Dodie’s site and nearly anywhere music is sold or streamed.


By Megan Clark

3 comments

  1. This is a very long time that shows all the strengths and weaknesses that are worth analyzing in order to decide how to do everything.

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  2. When we look at the fact that each person suffers with similar thoughts and cannot completely decide what to do with it further.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The song is sweet and sad, examining a girl who is beginning to fall in love with another girl and doesn't know what that means. Thank you for your suggestion of music to listen to.

    ReplyDelete