Dido Safe Trip Home Review

Released 2008.  

BBC Review

She still delivers devastating blows of emotion

Chris Long 2008

Why does everyone seem to dislike Dido so much? Surely it can’t just be because she dares to make music that doesn't pander to tastes of boys in skinny jeans and that isn't overwrought with clashing guitars or pounding drums?

If prejudices can be put aside, then this album will be celebrated as the long-awaited return of a fine songwriter and beautiful singer – after all, it's a massive five years since Life For Rent became the fastest selling album ever by a female artist.

That fact alone should be enough to silence critics, but there are those who'll tell you that sales don't equal talent and that her success comes from the fact that she's inoffensive, middle-of-the-road, coffee table.

Safe Trip Home won't change that opinion but it might make them think long and hard about it. The album, as you'd expect, stays to her tried and tested formula of minimalism, ennui and trademark pathos – from the opening emptiness of Don't Believe In Love to the brooding closer of Northern Skies, there's barely a chink of smiling light to be found in the dark opus.

It's not perfect. Dido's resolute refusal to move away from mid-tempo does mean that on occasion, tracks do slip soporiphically together, but there are enough twinkling jewels to show her shining talent – not least the aforementioned and suitably epic closer and the brilliant Grafton Street, a taut masterwork in sadness that was co-written with Brian Eno.

Dido may not push back the boundaries of music or rage against any machine, but listen closely and you'll find she still delivers devastating blows of emotion – they just come in a gentler way.

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