I've always admired Dido's musical style. It's serene and graceful, yet powerfully honest and dark in places. And it's a delight to say that once again she has well and truly delivered! She's brought with her the same charm and honesty we've become accustomed to whilst also assimilating more 'modern' musical styles, for want of a better word.
She's definitely venturing more. Personally, I just can't get into 'modern' music and am indifferent to most its offerings, so the concept of this seeping into Dido's music was quite horrifying. Admittedly, I was taken aback by a few of the songs... A rapper? Synthy pop? I'm sorry... What? But it works. Hats off to her (and Rollo), it's a clean musical progression that pushes the boat out enough to bring new and interesting sounds to the table, whilst retaining the core quality of we've come to know and love
The album certainly feels darker than the likes of 'White Flag', but it only seems to make it all the more compelling to listen to. My only real gripe is that the second half of the album is predominantly darker and it finishes on a bit of a downer. You're waiting for the uplifting finale and it almost leaves you wanting
1. No Freedom - The album opens nicely with a bit of classic Dido. Charming, laid back and beautifully sung 2. Girl Who Got Away - Another solid track that should appeal to the core fans 3. Let Us Move On - This is where things take an interesting turn. Not only does the track sound considerably darker than the previous 2, but it also features an interlude of rapping from Kendrick Lamar. Recipe for disaster? I didn't think so. Shocking, yes, but it gives the song a nice edge to it without detracting too much from it 4. Blackbird - By far the stand-out track. I absolutely love this one! An elegant mix of a sleek drumline and synth (yes, I did say elegant) that goes from the almost 'bouncy' verses to a gorgeous haunting chorus 5. End Of Night - It's got quite a quirky electronic feel to it, but laced with Dido's beautiful vocals, seals itself as another excellent addition to the album 6. Sitting On The Roof Of The World - This one is a sweet contrast to the previous songs. It's pretty much just a guitar and Dido's voice. A gorgeous little piece 7. Love To Blame - I really didn't like this one. It was weirdly dancey, a bit cheesy (random trumpets... what) and Dido's vocals sounded quite weak in places (very breathy in the chorus)... but damn it that bass line hooked me! A bit of a toe-tapping guilty pleasure 8. Go Dreaming - This is a sort of 'Sand In My Shoes' of the album. It's got a healthy dashing of effects in the background that makes it quite trancey 9. Happy New Year - A very dark and sombre piece (contrary to what seems to be quite an upbeat title!) - It's good but it's just a *little* too dark and depressing for my style 10. Loveless Hearts - Whilst it doesn't really stand out or stand up to some of the awesome earlier tracks, it's a solid piece 11. The Day We Went To War - The album finishes on quite a dark, haunting note. It's both beautiful and ominous
Ultimately this strikes me as one of those albums that would initially feels like a guilty pleasure - but with more listens, you find that there's very little to be guilty about. The quality, craft and execution of the album are superb