Dido - Life For Rent
It may say all that needs to be said about the music offered by Dido Armstrong that this review was begun, erased and rewritten more than any other I have yet attempted to write. The difficulty is in trying to write accurately of that which Dido records without resorting to cliches about dinner parties, sampler discs on the front of Marie Claire and music for people who don't like music.
So, in avoiding these comments, what is it that Dido does? Instead of dismissing her as pop-lite, I prefer to think of Dido as recording a variation on the gentle country of The Cowboy Junkies but with clear and obvious dance influences. As The Caution Horses gently drifts in the background under conversations, so too does Dido's music but both stand up to being listened to and, as the success of Life For Rent demonstrates, there's a huge number of people who feel the same. As this single is released, four million copies of Life For Rent have been sold worldwide.
Now, following the release of the first single off that album, White Flag, comes the release of the title track. As with her other songs, there is a lack of pretension about Life For Rent but with a cool intelligence behind it as well as an honesty about her age and experiences. Knowing that appearing on the Smash Hits circuit would do very little for her, Dido writes from a perspective of a woman whose been through a few relationships but is feeling bruised from what she felt in each. Whilst it may be the musical equivalent of the Next catalogue in its appeal to late-twentysomethings/early-thirtysomethings women, it's success clearly shows that there was a demand for such music and whilst one might prefer they listen to, for example, Stina Nordenstam, having Dido in the MX-5's CD changer is preferable to Westlife.
For those interested in the singles, there is a remix of White Flag on one version and remixes of Life For Rent and Stoned as well as the video for Life For Rent on the other. In answer to her critics, yes, most of the songs follow the same design but there's comfort to be had from that but, really, instead of these singles, the album is the better release to have. Review to follow...