Tuesday, 18 November 2008

The Other Neighbourhood

Did anyone see the London Paper review of Dido's new album today (17.11.08)?

I know it's not entirely in the character of this blog to discuss such artists, and I'm fully aware that the London Paper is cheap trite but I just can't resist the urge to share with you one of the most scathing /
slash/ entertaining reviews I have come across.

I very rarely read music reviews because I find them impersonal, confusing and sometimes not specific to the record in question. Malcolm Mackenzie's
article is so harsh it's funny (and dare I say NOT a lie). I'm assuming that the only remedy he could find to combat the deep sleep he felt he was being lulled into by having to endure 'Safe Trip Home' was to create a piece of writing with more life than the record in question.

I have highlighted my favourite bits in italics. The man is on fire.


Safe Trip Home



Slagging off Dido is about as boring as Dido herself. I used to wish Dido would make like the dodo and do one, but after a spate of decent releases from usual snore bores Coldplay and Keane, I was optimistic the London girl could pull it out of the bag for her third album.

Don’t let the fact Brian Eno had a hand in this record confuse you, like it did me. Very possibly, he can’t say “no” to anyone, even Jason Donovan.

The cool Bowie collaborator and Roxy Music musician has not done for her what he did for Coldplay. He weaves his magic on one track, Grafton Street – unsurprisingly a bit of a highlight – but if you didn’t know, you would never have guessed.

At 36, Dido is still as bland as edam, and you may be stunned to discover she’s even worse than before. You’ll need an ear trumpet and divining rods to locate any radio-friendly tunes equal to Thank You, Here With Me or White Flag.

To her credit, Dido was shining a dim torch on the beauty of the mundane long before Lily Allen, with lines about tea going cold and getting out of bed. She has an undeniable gift for words – not that you’ll be able to suffer the instrument of torture used to deliver them, namely her flat, featureless voice.

The music isn’t much ­better: inoffensive orchestral washes, sleepy beats and subtle electronica, all safe and sickly serene. Apart from a triumphant swell of recorders on aforementioned Grafton Street it’s predictable, forgettable terrain.

At its best, Safe Trip Home has distant echoes of Everything But The Girl singer Tracey Thorn, who also does the glitchy ballad thing, making the humdrum seem faintly tragic. Don’t Believe In Love and Never Want To Say It’s Love are best, but to borrow an old Dorothy Parker put-down: “She runs the gamut of emotions from A-B.” Unrequited love, fading love, loving too much – pretty soon you’re longing for a tune about her tax returns, anything but the malnourished musings on failed relationships.

We love an underdog in this country, and it would have been a lovely surprise if Dido had proven us wrong and made an essential album of 2008. She hasn’t. I think it would be best for all concerned if we say no more about it.


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