ANCHOR - Reeperbahn Festival International Music Award
Away from all the noise of his various successes – three UK top 5 albums including the platinum-selling, chart-topping Long Way Down; two top 10 singles; a 2013 Brit award for Critic's Choice – there's one thing that's always kept Tom Odell grounded: songwriting. A classic songwriter in the mould of Elton John (a big fan, actually), Odell – who was awarded a prestigious Ivor Novello for Songwriter of the Year in 2014 – relied on his passion more than ever when it came to crafting his fourth album, the pop-leaning, emotionally-healing monsters (released July 9th). After a dark period of mental health stalked most of his 2018 and 19, Odell wrote his way through it, eventually letting down his guard and pouring his feelings on everything from anxiety to capitalism, toxic masculinity to politics, into a 16-track opus that feels like both a daring creative rebirth and a solidifying of Odell's strengths. It's all there in lead single, numb, which opens with Odell's unadorned vocal over sparse piano – “I hold my hand over the flame, to see if I can feel some pain,” he sings – before eerie, wheezing electronics and layers of clipped beats cloak the song in a sticky sadness.