The 10 Best Bay Area Albums of 2018: Odie, 'Analogue'

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We're posting our favorite Bay Area albums of 2018 every weekday through Dec. 14. Check here to see who else made the list.

Upon first listen, Odie’s Analogue sounds so agnostic of any one cultural influence or genre that it’s almost impossible to tell where the artist is from. Born and raised in Canada by Nigerian parents before settling in the Bay Area at age 12, the barrier-transcending musician has experienced a life as multi-faceted as his gorgeous take on alt-R&B.

On Analogue, Odie’s warm singing voice and ambient synths are reminiscent of Kid Cudi’s moving, melodic rap, while his rhythmic structure and funky production take cues from African drum patterns and old Michael Jackson hits. Opening track "Bliss City," made entrancingly intimate with Odie's half-whispered delivery and twinkling keys, sets the tone for the artist's introspective lyrics.

A captivating debut, Analogue eloquently explores growing up, figuring oneself out and striving for artistic dreams. On "Story," Odie half-raps, half-sings about finding the faith to carve his own path, leaning on others to believe and pray as he searches for "the words to my story." "Northface," a track about a dead-end job at a winter-wear retailer, attests to Odie’s gift for crafting catchy melodies that catch listeners off-guard before returning to a familiar place.

Odie begins to fall into more confidently into his own rhythm on the upbeat "Faith," as he raps "New life takin’ over me / My energy so untamed." And on the dreamy "Phenomenon," Odie speaks to the fleeting ambition that plagues every 21-year-old with big goals and no clear game plan: "I can feel it, coming on / I think I want to change the whole world / Can you see the phenomenon / Been living on a prayer, all along." 

Throughout Analogue, Odie’s poignant, uncomplicated lyricism underscores quintessential, early-20s growing pains against a backdrop of lush, atmospheric production. With his emotive delivery, he creates a singular sound that can only come from blurring genre, time and cultural lines.