Tom Odell – Jubilee Road (Columbia)

Tom Odell – Jubilee Road (Columbia)


Jubilee Road tells the story of Tom Odell’s time living in East London. Jubilee Road is a fictional street, made up for the sake of his old neighbours against the fans who would make the pilgrimage to the singer’s old home if they knew its location. The album is expansive and sorrowful mostly, joyful occasionally. It has a remarkable lived in quality, feeling like the house itself. The stories intertwine to fit this narrative, each like framed picture on a wall.

Odell told the Evening Times that writing Jubilee Road was unlike anything he’d done before: “I was sitting in the living room of this house and it was very different in that the second album I wrote all over the place. It felt quite centred this one, it was all about one very specific period of time and one very specific location.”

Opening eponymous track ‘Jubilee Road’ links up to the final track, pacing a whole life in an album. Odell talks about listening to the old widower across the street about his life on ‘Jubilee Road’ and then finale ‘Wedding Day’ links back to it. This storytelling ability always has been one of Tom Odell’s strong suits.

It seems obvious that ‘If You Wanna Love Somebody’ would be the lead single from Jubilee Road. It is Tom Odell down to a tee, you could put it on his previous album The Wrong Crowd and it wouldn’t sound out of place. However, ‘China Dolls’ takes the first step for Jubilee Road into uncharted territory, moving away from the piano and to the guitar, for the verse anyway. The grand production surrounding Odell’s vocals feels very false and out of place, almost making the song a show tune.

Half as Good as You’ proves that Odell really cut his teeth with poppier songs on The Wrong Crowd ,giving him the chance to shine on more upbeat hits. It’s the delicate balance of bittersweet, the song telling a story of two lovers not quite able to move on. ‘Go Tell Her Now’ furthers this pop sound without being overly embellished as ‘China Dolls’ is.

Wedding Day’ closes the album and weaves together the joy and the sadness that shroud the songs on this album. It talks about the joy of a hopeful future that follows a wedding but about the regret of people moved on. Lines like “I’ll save the best one for the second dance” capture how succinctly Tom Odell can conjure up an entire feeling in just a single line.

Overall, Jubilee Road is warm and inviting. Whilst the production and band arrangement may not be anything to write home about in terms of Tom Odell’s past work, his songwriting is new. It’s a soul baring experience that you can’t forget. The songs are a rich tapestry, and to unravel it is to step inside Odell’s life on Jubilee Road.

Jubilee Road is out now on Columbia.

10 thoughts on “Tom Odell – Jubilee Road (Columbia)

  1. Jesus Christ, if you tolerate limp-fringed, posh-boy pop like this, fuck knows what horrors lurk in your record collection. This is dinner party music for London town house-owning, Orla Kiely wallpaper, ‘Keane’s Greatest Hits’ cunts. Vile.

  2. I agree with Jordi on Odell although I wouldn’t question Dale’s record collection or right to an opinion.

    Odell is dreadful sub Coldplay bothering, beige posho pap, soundtracking boring garden centre shopping on despairing Sundays.

    ‘may not be anything to write home about in terms of Tom Odell’s past work’

    Jeez, that’s not a high bar then, his previous work was godawful.

  3. Tom Odell isn’t my cup of tea either. But he deserves some respect. Few artists score #1 and #2 UK chart positions with their first two albums. You can’t just ignore BRIT and Ivor Novello awards, either. And the lad grafted his way to where he is, not by way of some or other TV singing competition. I consider Mumford and Sons to be archetypal ‘posh boys’ too, but that would not impact on my evaluation of their music. As for ‘cunts’, I don’t think that’s appropriate here.

  4. No, it doesn’t really as I said to someone earlier someone’s class doesn’t affect my enjoyment or evaluation of music, although if someone speaks to you about your experiences it can play into it. But put it this way if his music is bland as fuck his background and path to success may not be unconnected to it? Maybe he hasn’t led a very interesting life? And his success although an achievement of sorts doesn’t impact on my evaluation of his music either so…

  5. What kind of man takes time to read a review of an album by an artist that he clearly doesn’t like and then goes on to criticise the reviewer’s opinion about an album he hasn’t heard?
    As D. Bentley points out, Tom is a very popular, award winning artist. I have heard a number of pre-release tracks from the new album and I am sure it will turn out to be another platinum-selling album.

  6. Anyone is allowed an opinion on anything, enjoyment of albums and music, in general, is subjective as are reviews and opinions differ, comments sections are for that.

    When someone writes a review they are inviting comment on their opinion, it’s not personal its just that, comment and debate. Whilst I do protect my writers from personal comments. Whilst abuse isn’t acceptable I accept criticism and debate of my work and what I have written, as part of the job of a writer. Being open to having my opinion and the subject commented upon is also part of journalism in the online world, and if I might say this is all very tame in comparison to the worst of the comments, I’ve have been trolled for months and abused for my opinion in the past. It’s also quite ironic given your comment that you haven’t heard the entire album yet you make a judgement too.

  7. I think that calling into question the reviewer’s music collection and the use of abusive language in doing so is unacceptable

    At least I have heard 5 tracks and am therefore in a reasonable position to make a judgement. – 5 more than Jordi, for sure.

  8. Have only listened to the track included in the review above, but if that is indicative of the fare contained within the album, I’m with Jordi all the way! Far too many of these boring, bedwetting, falsettoed wankers with nothing to say clogging up the charts these days. Who would’ve thought that Leo Sayer would prove to be such an influence on contemporary pop eh.

  9. No, it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest – good luck to Mr Odell if he can make a living out of such thin fare. And sales don’t necessarily = quality. Westlife sold millions of records. Shack have hardly sold any. I know who I prefer.

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