Jody Cooper – Serenades and Odes to a Cracked World (Part 1)
German singer-songwriter Jody Cooper combines melodic undertones with his distinctive and powerful vocals to release in his latest project, Serenades and Odes to a Cracked World (Part 1).
Growing up in the eighties as an English boy in a Scottish town, Cooper felt a little out of place, but decided to incorporate his love for performing onstage to begin to feel more accepted. He started out learning how to play the violin and began performing for the classroom, later earning himself the moniker “Elton Cooper.” He began to broach off into other instruments, teaching himself how to play the piano, bass, and guitar. At age 14, he started learning how to write songs, and at 16, his adamant music making process began to become fused with his drive to become a musician.
After a season of performing for bands as a self-employed musician, Cooper decided to take his musical undertaking more seriously by enrolling in the University of Liverpool to undergo his music degree there. In 2007, he released his first album, Ten a Penny, a self-financed and self-produced project that took five years in the making. After a stint of shows with the a capella group, Sense of Sound, several releases and European tours followed [Growing Up and Free Thyself (2012)]. In 2013, Cooper, like his musical heroes, The Beatles, left the UK to Germany to begin his music career there.
Serenades and Odes to a Cracked World (Part 1) bridges socio-commentary with contagious hooks and binding grooves in this alt-rock album that was implemented right after his first visits and concerts in the U.S. in 2016.
The record starts off with the first track “I Forsake The Joneses,” that follows with an introduction toward the beginning with the Joneses Department store being announced. This leads its way into the narrative of the song that has a great alternative rock vibe with strong underlining pop sensibilities. A great tune to bob your head to, the drumming backbeat works in melodic harmonies on the keys and electric guitar. With a great hum of activity, listeners will really get the gist of the track, as Cooper repeatedly reinstates the title of the track in the refrain of the song.
“Leave A Light On” is followed by an intergalactic wave of inundating guitar sounds. Brimming with authenticity and artistic talent along with tight musicianship and vocals filled with attitude, the great alt-rock sound really throws you into the throes of the moment. The song has Cooper singing about how to not leave him out in the cold. It is an emotional song with a really rocking vibe with an introspective sound that incorporates electric rhythms on the bass and contagious riffs on the guitar.
The track, “One,” enlists the sounds of the sea towards the beginning of the song. Piano harmonies gives off a forlorn inkling in the track and will leave listeners wanting more. The simple, sparse arrangement is haunting with just vocals and piano at first with a drumming backbeat that eventually joins in. This is an emotional and harmonious song with a thought-provoking bent. As Cooper pours over his feelings on the track, he sings about how there will always be that someone who will harbor you through any storm. The simple acoustics and modest arrangement will have listeners reeling from its moving and altogether impactful sound.
“You Can’t Make It On Your Own” follows through with a highly dynamic sound. There is a bit of psychedelic to this track with the vocals retaining a slight tinny reverberation from the microphone. With an expectant retro, garage rock feel to this song, the vocals come in first with the accompaniment of the electric guitar as well as the driving sound of the drums coming in later. The slow sauntering rhythms definitely give off a rocking cadence. With fiery lyrics that joins in that talks about the struggles and the fight to stay alive and of staying together and resisting the urge to give up, the deep and meaningful word play is emphasized by a gripping rock tune that will grow on you.
“Don’t Know You Now” starts off with a magnetic piano melody that is truly engrossing and has a great acoustic vibe to it. The soothing sounds as well as beseeching vocals pave the way to make Jody Cooper a convincing act. The strong vibrations with great energy and weaving guitar and bass rhythms make for a great psychedelic sound straight from the 60s and 70s.
“Living In Hell” is a pensive track with a dark and foreboding feel. The rock song, which is about surviving in dark times, emanates an upbeat chorus, while the rest of the track chases a slower beat. The tight harmonies courses through with oscillating reverberations from the guitar. Similarly, the vocals also have an echoing quality. The resonating chorus on this melodic track highlights the certain parts on this song that have an upbeat quality to it.
The seventh track, “Home,” has a clashing rock sound to it. The great vibes coming from the smothering vocals and hypnotic beats pave support an upbeat chorus with a great appealing 80s cadence. The vocals inhibit a smoky quality that is supported by synths and a great New Wave era retro twist.
“The Great Divide” has a loud gunning from the start of the song from the electric guitar. The powerful, loud, and spacious sounds from the guitar is mixed with the intermingling of keys to create a more soaring and dynamic sound. There seems to be a lot at stake, here, as the electric sounds coming from the guitars fitfully produces a spiraling and radioactive mixture of loud, invigorating tunes.
“Silence” starts off with a layering of piano harmonies. The soft sound coming from the melodic playing has Cooper singing wholeheartedly about the scale of things and how eventually due to the propensity of some actions, things can escalate. Here, he is asking about why we let the rift of certain things pull apart our relationships.
“You Say You Own Me” starts off with some furious strumming from the guitar. The vocals is featured solely with the acoustics of the guitar. This is a slightly more hopeful track about losing and gaining something as you learn the truth about someone. As the song builds up with more tension, the track grows with more dramatic strength as the drums join in, in supporting the acoustic guitar on this song. This track has a grunge feel to it, with its promising overarching fiery spirit you can get a cathartic release from this powerful and emotional rock sound.
On “Breakdown,” we hear the sound of some young kids in the midst of gunfire. With this chaotic intro follows Cooper’s clear and expressive vocals. The vocals are like a spark of light within this highly dramatic scene. The fuzzy guitars on this track is backed up by vocals that harmonizes along to the theatrics on this song.
“It’s Alright” has a more light-hearted approach than the rest of the album had elicited. This is a departure from some of Cooper’s more darker tracks. Catchy as well as upbeat, this track favors a more acoustic approach with the guitar and a jazzy saxophone solo.
The last track to this album, “Songs For the Oppressed,” begins with the sounds of a riot and the clashing of chaos as things fall into dissimilation. The electronic modes give off some of these darker themes and connotations as sounds of metal with a pulsating bassline and darker vibrations are displayed. Yet the vocals here are controlled and never reach to the point of outright screams. The riveting sound have vocals that bridges the gap between a more metal sound and a sound that is catered to a more classic rock audience, incorporating a blend of both genres here in this track.
Multi-instrumentalist Jody Cooper acts as a one-man band who does plays all the instruments himself. In this DIY spirit, he produces some great electric sounds on this one of a kind alt-rock, pop album. Binding together harmonious riffs and lush arrangements he perpetuates a rock vibe that really draws from the greats, including U2, The Beatles, and Glen Hansard.
2017 sees the release of one of his most ambitious projects yet. Serenades And Odes From A Cracked World is Jody Cooper’s first crowd-funded concept album on the themes of disintegration (part 1) and integration (part 2, release TBC). Cooper speaks out on the subject of the album: “With everything that’s happening in the world, the time has come for people to start engaging with the problems around them in an attempt to make a positive change. This album is my attempt.”
Altogether imbued with a sense of disparity, this fits into the grooves of global affairs today. Cooper has made a convincing act of himself. Raw, emotional, and powerful, Jody Cooper has created a great rock/pop album, so have a listen.