Tom Odell
Photo: Netti Hurley / Press

Tom Odell — Numb

Odell marks his return to music with a new edgy sound.

Multiplatinum-selling artist Tom Odell’s new single, “Numb,” is out now and will have you feeling anything but numb. 

“Numb” is dark, with an edgy open and Odell’s signature raw vocals interspersed over a soft piano. 

“Look at what you’ve gone and done / baby, baby now I’m numb,” he croons, giving way to ominous, wheezing electronics and layers of clipped beats cloaking the song.  Inspired by experimental musician Mica Levi’s soundscapes, synthetic textures are painstakingly fused with acoustic flourishes.

Although the song is sonically one of his most interesting, it is his lyrics that stand out: “I hold my hand over the flame / to see if I can feel some pain.” Odell won the coveted Ivor Novello award for Songwriter of the Year in 2014, and this song feels like both a daring creative rebirth and a solidifying of Odell’s strength in songwriting.

“I would say there was this period where I was just disconnected,” Odell said in a press release of the single’s lyrical inspiration. “I felt bogged down, like I was beginning to lose that sense of lightness.”

Odell turned that challenging experience into not only a new song, but soon a new album. Created alongside songwriter Laurie Blundell and producer Miles James, the album leans more into a more electronic, bedroom-pop sound that Odell has steadily become obsessed with over the last few years. It was a move underpinned by both necessity and a desire to explore. While his new music is at times weighty, there’s a lightness of touch that means Odell is able to pull off pop’s greatest trick; hiding sadness in the melodies. In this strangest of times, this new music represents the start of chapter two in Odell’s ongoing musical journey.

Check out the incredible video shot in Odell’s home in England, co-directed by Joseph Delaney.