As first seen on TikTok, Odie Leigh’s long-awaited “Crop Circles” does not disappoint, even after 11 months of recording and polishing. The Louisiana folk artist first teased the track on social media in March 2021 and, after nearly a full year, she has released a polished and refined single full of gentle simplicity and warmth.
“Crop Circles” opens with a methodical acoustic guitar that dips, floats and twists in the sonic space that it creates. You can feel it spatially, as the track reverberates around your head; it’s like sitting in the room alongside Leigh as she plucks out soft, staccato notes on a hand-me-down six-string. Repetitive finger-style acoustic takes on a heavy weight in the center of the track, acting almost percussively, with the muted clack of guitar strings driving the song ever-forward — it is simple and refined — and requires no accompaniment. Leigh plays this hypnotic and inviting guitar line that moves in tandem with raw, shimmering vocals — verse after verse transfixes the listeners in place, spellbound, perhaps swaying gently or standing still with eyes closed.
The melody’s perfection-in-simplicity is what makes “Crop Circles” so captivating — or perhaps the soul-baring lyrics are what open the track wide — inviting each of us to stop in for a listen; a quiet moment that feels like waking with the sun or the first breath of spring after a cold winter.
Guitar and vocals build into the outro, gaining momentum with every passing moment — Leigh sings “And I / I don’t think I’ve changed” as muffled hands beat out a rhythm in the furthest corners of the track and layers of her barely-there raspiness choir above the mix. Just as the track swells to its peak, it concludes with the same tenderness and clarity that Leigh carries throughout.
“Crop Circles” is a process of seeing change as good and accepting that the person you were before was never perfect, and the person you are now is far from it. Leigh offers an intimate portrait of growing older, dwelling on inadequacies and coming into one’s own with time — wearing circles into your carpet as you tread round and round. The familiarity of the story in “Crop Circles” humanizes her work and holds listeners in close — it is palatable and comforting, leaving listeners excited for what she has in store for the future.
A piece of advice: Listen to it. Listen to it again. Listen maybe one more time for good measure.
Daily Arts Contributor Claire Sudol can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.