Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Odyssey S – Six by JOY. (2018)
I was going through a difficult time when you came into my life. I had been separated for a while from an ex-boyfriend who made me question my every step, made me question what I was doing wrong by him whenever I needed a hand to hold, whenever I needed to talk about what was going on for me. I was 21, naïve, still hurt after years and you told my story in a way I simply couldn’t at the time. I loved the mystical production, the longing in your voice and the way it made me feel like I’m not alone – a feeling I strive to create with my music regularly. Your effortless melodies touched my soul and your RnB inspired beats hit my heart like a train at full speed.
Your powerful lyrics, ethereal vocals and magical production inspired me to be a better person to myself, to be a better musician, to be a better me. You cannot change your circumstances, you cannot long for a person to be something they are not, and so the electro-ballad ‘Change’ became the anthem to my life and grief, and my favourite song of all time. Your powerful control over your vocal production, your gut-wrenching lyrics and your vocal chops left me a blubbering mess and I couldn’t show enough people to satisfy the hunger I felt for the world to see just how phenomenal this record truly is.
Six tells the story of the ups and downs of love, life and mental illness. ‘Lose Control’ – the last track on the record – is a harrowing sampled wonderland of thick beats and trailing thoughts of not knowing how you got to the point of falling off the edge – a place I had become far too familiar with. It spoke to me in such a way that I cried the first time hearing it. In-fact I cried many times listening to it. Your words spoke to me in a way no artist had ever achieved before. There is no messing around on this record. It gets straight to the point and sheds an intriguing perspective on everyday life as an empath.
Continuing the commentary on mental illness, JOY.’s critically acclaimed ‘Smoke Too Much’ is a nostalgic upbeat pop track about dissociation. It talks of smoking too much as if you exit your own life too much and almost feel separate to everything and everyone around you. This experience is far too common in those with depressive and trauma-based mental illnesses and is an extremely necessary commentary on what those with depression and dissociative experiences experience in their thoughts on a day to day basis.
‘This Place (Interlude)’ is my second favourite song on the record. It speaks of playing games in love, of only being wanted once you are no longer interested – something many people have experienced with great frustration. We live in a world that is constantly picking up pace, and a world where it becomes easier and easier to ghost the ones around you for someone new and fresh as soon as things become real – a situation I have found myself in many times, hurting just as much each time.
‘Need You’ follows the same theme of longing after someone playing games with you. The lyrics “you hurt me by thinking you could desert me” cut through me like a knife and the hauntingly beautiful violin solo at the end of the track drives the message straight home with a delicate sadness.
For me, although it’s the album’s first track, ‘Fake It’ finishes the epic journey with a bitter goodbye, JOY. boldly stating: “I am not a victim, you have done this to us”.
Six, I was going through a difficult time when you came into my life, but I am so thankful for your words, your depth, your raw, ethereal beauty and the significantly important messages you share. You broke my heart, then taught me how to heal myself and I would not be the artist I am without you. I can’t wait to obsess over your sequel.
Listen to Odyssey S’ latest single ‘Even When We Let It Go’, here.