Jodelle - Better Than Okay
2013, Espionne Records
2013, Espionne Records
Jodelle is a pop/rock songwriter based out of New Jersey. With a penchant for reliving personal and sometimes painful personal experiences in song, Jodelle has begun to take her music to happier, more self-assured place. This transition is apparent on her latest release, Better Than Okay. The five-song EP is all about the resurrection of self in the wake of a relationship, and Jodelle takes listeners through the recovery process with songs of strength and starting anew.
Jodelle kicks things off with "Queen Of Crazy", a pop escapade built of a memorable chorus and a pedestrian, indistinctive chorus. A poor relationship trajectory is the inspiration here, and the subject matter is ripe for exploring. Jodelle just doesn't convert the song into the type of experience that inspires listeners to hit repeat. "Skirt" has a bit more life, and seems semi-autobiographical. There's real life in this song, as Jodelle describes a situation many working musicians will understand. "Self Portrait" is a song of soul searching and relationship recidivism that has a navel gaze quality. Jodelle is mired in her own sense of melancholy, and the listener cannot escape. The balm here is Jodelle's comely voice and a wonderfully musical arrangement.
Jodelle travels the path to healing, as she lets go of the past in "Better Than Okay". What starts off as tenuous becomes more self-assured as the song goes on. She backpedal into the closing number, "The Other Shoe", showing her back to her romantic protagonist as she walks away. The anger is gone here, as Jodelle acknowledges all that went on, good and bad, but sets her sights on a new tomorrow. The piano ballad is built up with layers of sound, and might actually sound better stripped down to just singer and voice.
Better Than Okay is as advertised. The EP manages to overcome mediocrity without really finding its full potential. Jodelle is a solid performer with an affable voice, but undercuts herself with unspoken yet visceral self-doubt across the five songs here. The effort is valiant, and Jodelle works her charms, but the work as a whole never quite comes together into a coherent story. Jodelle has a lot to offer, and careful listeners will follow along to see where her muse might turn next.
Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more at www.jodelle.net.