Top positive review
Finally! Dido's fifth is a fine and welcome return
8 March 2019
Released almost six years to the day since her previous record ("Girl Who Got Away"), Dido’s long-awaited 5th studio album (and first with new label BMG) is a very welcome return. In an interview with Music Week magazine ahead of the album’s release, Dido claimed that “no one’s waiting for this record, no one’s expecting it." While the singer was referring specifically to not having a record deal (or any of the inherent pressures) whilst writing and recording "Still on My Mind," it certainly isn’t true that no-one was waiting – as fans around the world will surely agree.
"Still on My Mind" happily reveals that Dido’s characteristic voice remains as it ever was (pure, plaintive, powerful), and her knack for gentle melodic reflection on life’s intricacies has not abandoned her. If you’re a Dido fan, there’s no doubt that you will want to add this album to your collection.
There are many winning new songs here, and the highlights include the standout “Some Kind of Love,” title track “Still on My Mind” (which could easily have been taken from second album "Life for Rent"), immediate earworm “Take You Home,” “Hurricanes,” “Chances” and the touching, celtic-inspired “Have to Stay” (Dido’s song about parenthood which reportedly set this record’s creative wheels in motion).
Produced almost exclusively by Dido and her brother Rollo (of Faithless), this is very much a synth, electronic record, more similar to its immediate predecessor and many (audio) miles away from sorely-underrated third album "Safe Trip Home" (on which every single sound was made by a live voice/instrument). Just occasionally, the production threatens to distract (the last 15 seconds of third track "Hell After This" demonstrate how the song might have been improved with fewer embellishments), but – conversely - lead-single "Give You Up" feels as though it could have benefitted from an extra gear in the final chorus. Also, on a couple of occasions (notably "Still on My Mind" and "Have to Stay") songs feel as though they have ended prematurely and could have used an extra 30 seconds or so.
Minor quibbles aside, however, "Still on My Mind" is a consistently enjoyable record which travels through a deceptively wide variety of styles, all held reassuringly together by Dido’s much-missed vocals. And I’ve no doubt that many of these songs will still be on my mind (ha ha) by the time of the singer’s next record. But who knows when that will be?