The Last Goodbye
In genre terms, the electronic duo ODESZA occupies a bit of a gray area: not quite dance music (too dense and cinematic for the club), but not quite pop or indie, either. Some have labeled the group’s sound “chill-bass,” which, though clunky, appropriately captures their hybrid sound—a mix of heady, meditative soundscapes (chirpy samples, airy chimes, and synths that almost sound like they’re breathing) with the explosive glitz and drama of main-stage EDM. Over the past decade, Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight leaned hard into this niche and built a cult following, becoming the sort of rare electronic act that can carry a packed amphitheater. (Their shows have fireworks, drum lines, drone shows, and trippy visuals, all soundtracked by sweeping, emotional songs meant to take you on a journey.) Their ambitious fourth album The Last Goodbye doubles down on that maximalism, with guest stars (Ólafur Arnalds, Låpsley, The Knocks), vintage samples (Bettye LaVette’s soulful 1965 single “Let Me Down Easy” inspired the title track), and enough skittering dance-floor texture to tip each track into rave-able turf. Yet despite their danceable shape and percussive muscle, these songs are introspective at their core. The driving techno-pop cut “Wide Awake” featuring Charlie Houston is lonely and melancholic, with lyrics about standing alone at a party submerged in your own emotions (“I hate the way it hurts breathing/Thought that I could put these feelings aside,” she sings). That comforting combination of loneliness and togetherness—a hallmark of live music, and dance music in particular—could be the centerpiece for The Last Goodbye and the ODESZA experience as a whole: Nostalgic, yearning, sentimental songs about getting lost in your own feelings can be soothing with 20,000 strangers dancing by your side.