Despite all of the chaos, 2020 has been a shockingly good year for new music. Joining the ranks of anticipated music releases is English singer-songwriter Dorothy Clark, known by her stage name Dodie. She surprised fans on October 19 with the announcement of her upcoming debut studio album, Build a Problem. Scheduled to be released on March 5, 2021, the project follows her previous independent EPs Intertwined (2016), You (2017), and Human (2019). In preparation, Dodie dropped the album’s latest single, “Cool Girl.”
“Cool Girl” was originally part of Dodie’s ALOSIA (A Lot of Songs in April/August) sessions, where she gave fans a preview of several demo tracks on her YouTube channel. In the single, Dodie sings about trying desperately to appear fine when she very much isn’t. She keeps biting her tongue and carrying on despite her burdens. However, as she notes, she can only bite back so much before she notices blood. Her “cool girl” facade isn’t eternal—it’s a ticking time bomb.
Now revamped for the official release, “Cool Girl” is polished and enrapturing, living up to its own potential. The track features more drums and backing vocals than the YouTube preview, adding an incredible amount of power into an otherwise calm track. The lead up to the chorus becomes a force of nature as Dodie describes her frustration with being stuck playing pretend: “God, I swore I wouldn’t play the age-old game / Yeah, I watched you all ask all your lovers away.” The first part is filled with layers and layers of backing vocals, but the following line has only a single vocal track. This harsh contrast adds momentum to the song, giving it a much-needed pulse.
Even with the neater studio feel, the track still carries the core elements that make a Dodie song feel like Dodie. It’s simple without ever abandoning her honest, emotional songwriting. It feels like a breath of fresh air or the calm before the storm—perhaps exactly what Dodie needed to prepare fans for her big debut.
“Cool Girl” will be the third single of Build a Problem, joined by the previously released songs “Guiltless” and “Boys Like You.” On her YouTube channel, surrounded by an album sign she knit herself, Dodie announced that Build a Problem will feature a total of fourteen songs. There will also be a deluxe edition, with all of the ALOSIA songs as bonus tracks.
“I do think it’s beautiful. I cannot wait to share it with you,” Dodie said in the announcement. “Fifth of March is a fairly long time away, but, as we have learned, time is not real, so it’ll be here so soon.”
Dodie shared that there’s much to look forward to in the next couple of months, including music videos, photoshoots, and behind-the-scenes of recording a thirteen—yes, thirteen—piece-string section. If the rest of Build a Problem is anything like “Cool Girl,” March 5th can’t come soon enough.