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Dido - Topic

Safe Trip Home Play

Perhaps even Dido realized that the chief criticism lodged against her first two albums was that they were a bit too placid, so she decided to change things, albeit subtly, on her third, Safe Trip Home. This album appears five years after 2003's Life for Rent, which is only a year longer than the gap between No Angel and Life, yet it feels like it had a longer gestation: Dido's songs are subtler and richer, and so is the production, largely a collaboration with Jon Brion but also featuring Brian Eno on "Grafton Street." These are two of an impressive lineup of guests who range from Mick Fleetwood to Citizen Cope and ?uestlove from the Roots, but don't be mistaken in thinking that this is a dramatic break from Dido's elegant, shimmering past: it's a deepening, adding layers and textures, both musical and emotional, that are apparent upon the first listen but reveal themselves more with repeat spins. This is less about the surface -- something that Life for Rent could sometimes seem to be all about -- than what's underneath, as Dido's songs here gently hook their way into the subconscious on. There are melancholic edges, but it's not haunting, it's comforting, reassuring music that's quietly powerful, music that Dido hinted at before but never quite made. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Girl Who Got Away Play

Differences between Dido albums can be measured on a small sliding scale. She never changes her style but she does change her sound, however subtly. Girl Who Got Away, her fourth album and first in five years, differs from its predecessor, the meticulously woven Safe Trip Home. That was an album tailored for domesticity, while Girl Who Got Away is a soundtrack for a night out, going so far as to make space for a guest spot for Kendrick Lamar, the alt-crossover rapper du jour of 2013. Dido's night on the town isn't quite a dingy pub crawl: it's tasting menus and craft cocktails where the crowds bustle but never jostle. Sophistication is a given, but there's a surprising undercurrent of sensuality that runs throughout the album, a sleekness that suggests a distillation of the stiff club-soul of Elle Goulding, a shimmer that blends quite seamlessly with Dido's sculpted songs. As a particularly affectless singer, Dido is quite adaptable to her gently shifting surroundings, so she feels perfectly at home in this neon-streaked production, savoring how it swings from understated but insistent beats to a soft acoustic bed. Perhaps it's lifestyle music, designed to reflect the aspirations and desires of her audience, but it's impeccably executed and slyly seductive lifestyle music. Halfway through, Girl Who Got Away sucks you into its sway, its comforts as alluring as they are elusive. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

No Angel Play

The title notwithstanding, this debut from the former Faithless singer is pretty angelic-sounding stuff. You're bound to think of Sinéad O'Connor, but the comparison is as misleading as it is inevitable. Granted, Dido's ethereal vocals here frequently recall O'Connor; but Dido's music -- while inventively augmented with electronics -- is generally less adventurous. Ditto No Angel's lyrics, which focus almost exclusively on love, lust, and relationships. That said, the fact remains that this is an auspicious and highly listenable album -- atmospheric, seductive, and beautifully produced and sequenced. ~ Jeff Burger, Rovi

Life for Rent Play

Life for Rent doesn't offer anything that drastically different from Dido's debut album, No Angel -- the dance beats are marginally fresher, the production is clean and new -- but this predictibility is actually rather refreshing because the album delivers on its promise, unlike many sophomore affairs in 2003. That its promise is rather modest doesn't really matter, since Dido is successful at modest songs. She has a sweet, warm voice and a knack for tuneful modern folk-pop that sounds intimate while being confidently catchy and nicely atmospheric. In other words, it retains the feel of No Angel and its two big hits, "Here With Me" and "Thank You," without ever rewriting either song, but contributing songs like "White Flag," "Stoned," "Life for Rent," and "Do You Have a Little Time," which are nearly as memorable. The appeal of Life for Rent is what makes Dido appealing -- she's unassuming and gentle, but her songs are so melodic and atmospheric they easily work their way into the subconscious, and the records are well-crafted enough to be engaging on repeated plays. So, Life for Rent isn't much different than its predecessor, but that's a very good thing in this case. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Greatest Hits Play

The phenomenally successful, multi-platinum-selling singer/songwriter, who has released just four studio albums in her 14-year career, finally presents her inaugural Greatest Hits compilation. The album includes all of her biggest tunes, including the U.K. top five singles "Here with Me," "Thank You," and "White Flag.", Rovi
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