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The Last Goodbye was released on July 22 (Photo courtesy of Red Light Management).

Album Review: ‘The Last Goodbye’ infuses experimentalism in both samples, instrumentation to tell a personal, moving story

ODESZA, the electronic duo from Bellingham, Washington, infuse various experimentalism in genre and instruments in their storytelling. It consists of two members, Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, who met in college while attending Western Washington. The duo has since released several albums, most notably their hit album, A Moment Apart, which reached No.3 on the Billboard Hot 200, and secured nominations for "Best Dance/Electronic Album" and "Best Dance Recording."  

After a long five-year hiatus, ODESZA returns with The Last Goodbye, which shares the same storytelling style, with more moving and personal songs this time. The LP encompasses excellent choices of samples and features from The Knocks and Charlie Houston.

The Last Goodbye boasts 13 tracks and clocks in at 50 minutes and 32 seconds long and is best enjoyed in sequential order.

Here are the best tracks you should listen to from The Last Goodbye:

"This Version Of You" 

The album's intro song, "This Version Of You," starts with a sample of childhood recordings that deep dive into the past. Lyrics, "This Version Of You Simply becomes real/you're right here with this version of you," set the tone for this LP.

The past is a recurring theme throughout this album, a sense of reflection backed by the ethereal synths and lush soundscapes ODESZA is known to provide. This soothing sense of self-meditation wraps around what has happened these past few years, COVID-19 and the "heaviness of thinking about loved ones and how much they mean to you," Mills said in an interview with ABC News.

"Wide Awake"

“Wide Awake” transitions perfectly from the intro song. It continued the intro’s theme and reflects on transitioning into new situations. The vocals of Charlie Houston make up most of the track lyrics. The lyrics “I’ve been wide awake, feeling people seem to change their feelings in time/ “Did we make a mistake healin’,” reflects on a relationship and how feelings are fickle. 

"The Last Goodbye" 

"The Last Goodbye" is the namesake of the LP, which samples Bettye LaVette's "Let me down easy." It marks the first single from ODESZA three years after the release of "Loyal" in September of 2018 and was the teaser track for the album. The art was first seen on ODESZA’s website on Feb. 1, 2022, and then the song itself was released on Feb. 8, 2022. 

The song's lyrics: "Let me down easy, All of your love for me is gone/ When you pass by me say hello once in a while." The change in instrumentation throughout the song introduced this idea of the present, knowing it's over, and also the past. It amplifies the all too common feeling of seeing a person you have a history with and still simply saying hello. It is an interaction that begs the question, is there ever a last goodbye? If we as people find comfort in the idea of still being friends or mere acquaintances, we can't forget the past.

"Better Now" 

"Better Now" was released on March 2, 2022, and marked the second single to be released as a teaser for this album. It features Portuguese singer MARO, who talks on themes of failure and improvement from mistakes while always taking chances and risks in life. Lyrics, "Better that I tried instead of nothing at all/"And I can say it's my fault I really don't mind at least I gave it a go," incorporate energetic melodies and soundscapes which give the track a childhood feel. It also marks the first collaboration between ODESZA and MARO.

Overall, The Last Goodbye is a story filled with ups and downs, telling the story of life itself and begging the question, is there ever a last goodbye? While some songs are disconnected from others, most songs on this album are a flow of various creative experimentation in instrumentation, production and sampling. ODESZA took five years away after the release of A Moment Apart and delivered a predecessor that fans can embrace. This album reaffirms their place in the dance world. 

Rating: 5/5 


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