Release Date: Nov 18, 2008
Record label: Arista
Genre(s): Rock, Pop
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.
It's five years since Life for Rent, Dido's nine-million selling follow-up to 2001's 12-million selling debut No Angel, so you might wonder what's been taking so long. The answer, judging by her third studio album Safe Trip Home, is that Dido has been taking some time to mature, both musically and emotionally. Where Life For Rent was a series of snapshots from the life of a newly single girl (one reviewer called it the musical equivalent of Bridget Jones's Diary), Safe Trip Home is overwhelmingly coloured by the death at the end of 2006 of her father.
Dido’s measured restraint can sometimes be a drag. But on her third album, that reserve seems just about right for a set of chilly songs that are all about feeling distanced — some of them about mere lost love, some about greater griefs, like her father’s recent death. ”Don’t look me in the eye more than you need to,” she coos considerately; meanwhile, Safe Trip Home‘s co-producer, Jon Brion, masterfully adds brooding strings that suggest deeper passions at play beneath the resignation.
Review Summary: An album that builds on everything she had done previously, but with a much more personal and mature touch than one would ever expect from her.Losing a loved one is a hard thing to deal with. The rush of emotions can be overwhelming and it may even feel like the hurt will never go away. We all have different ways of dealing with the pain that comes with loss, some constructive and some not so much.
It takes a certain bullishness of mind not only to play recorder on a pop song, but to use that recorder to emulate the sound of pan pipes mithering in a small-town shopping district. That's what Dido does on Grafton Street, and it's an unlikely sign of the confidence that infuses her third album. Safe Trip Home has been three years in the making - time Dido has spent learning to play drums (that's her pattering away during Quiet Times) and hone her thoughtful lyrics.
There’s better ways to spend an evening than listening to a Dido album. Removing the dry skin from the balls of your feet with a sheet of extra-coarse sandpaper. Emptying your elderly relative’s colostomy bag before giving them a strip wash. Even watching an Adam Sandler movie. But faced with ….