There are many things that may surprise you about Dido. Her incredible birth name is one. As is her age (no way did she turn 41 at Christmas – Wikipedia must be lying).The other big surprise was her disappearance from the mainstream radar after recording two number one albums. Her third album just never quite had the same impact. But now she’s back, and let me tell you this is no ‘Big Reunion’-esque charade.
Dido’s penmanship on each of these eleven tracks has been aided on many instances by her brother, Rollo Armstrong. The two of them have worked together, and with other great songwriters, to craft each song to be as emotive as the next. The words are truly beautiful.
Lead single No Freedom lets Dido’s soothing vocals layered over a guitar and drum beat and that’s all it takes to brings the lyrics to life. I’ve often found myself lost in Dido’s lyrics (I could write a dissertation about Sand In My Shoes from her second album) and with this mystical opener it’s clear that Dido is continuing to envelope her listeners with her music.
With Eminem’s Stan being part of Dido’s rise to fame, the appearance of Kendrick Lamar on Let Us Move On provides a great dose of nostalgia and once again shows how singer songwriters can embrace rap music. The resulting track is a great mix of Dido’s traditional sound before the introduction of Lamar’s vocals.
Happy New Year wouldn’t seem a foot out of place on Dido’s earlier releases – it encompasses everything that made No Angel and Life For Rent two of the biggest albums of the last decade. The same can be said for the stunningly sombre Day Before We Went To War and the simple, but powerful, Sitting On The Roof Of The World.
You see, the one major surprise here is that nothing’s really changed. Dido is every bit the star she was at the turn of the century. And long may she keep on shining.