Dido

    {grate 2}

    After the radio wave of raucous M.I.A. world-beats and bopping Natasha Bedingfield popcorn, it’s a refreshing to hear a Brit LP as moody and spaced out as Dido’s Safe Trip Home. Though her trusty brand of cool, crisp vocalizations — popularized by Eminem’s song “Stan” — feigns a smooth transition from her sold-out Life For Rent tour, the album introduces a major plot twist: a prematurely introspective, cheesy, aged (dare I say old?) Dido. While her four-year sabbatical might explain her sudden need for soulful reflections, it doesn’t excuse the 36-year-old’s vapid, vaguely adolescent lyrics and trite orchestral dramatics.

    Safe Trip Home’s first song, “Don’t Believe in Love,” dresses to impress with spare, jazzy vocals and raindrop-drum tapes, launching into a ’70s-pop chorus, greased up with unsuitably funky guitar and overworked strings. The single fails to encapsulate the album’s attempt at bare-boned honesty, pushing instead a let’s-redo-oldies approach. Ironically, on its evil-twin track “Never Want to Say it’s Love,” Dido proclaims: “I’ve made it through the restless phase,” referring to her multiplatinum debut No Angel, UK’s second-most-sold record of the 21st century. But when restless is replaced by shallow reminiscing, a la “I felt the same today/ As I was feeling yesterday/ It’ll be the same tomorrow,” fans expecting an open-road outlook might feel a bit shafted.

    “It Comes and It Goes” gets closest to recapturing Dido’s old momentum, complete with humming guitars, mounting violinplay and soft, introspective pauses describing how inspiration “breaks [her]/ when it goes.” The space-age, Brian-Eno influenced “Grafton Street” is stirred by haunting Celtic flutes and Dido’s cracked-crystal vocals, providing a little of the reflective vibe for which her entire LP yearns.

    Maybe after another world tour Dido can let go of her wrinkle worries and revisit the airy restlessness that once captured legions of dedicated fans.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal