Dido‘s fifth album Still On My Mind, and first in seven years, is a full return to her electronica roots, right down to the album’s main collaborator, her brother Rollo (co-founder of British electronica group Faithless). When the intro track Hurricanes breaks out into a deliciously hypnotic trip-hop beat midway through, expectations step a little higher than comfort allows.
While Dido is best remembered for soft adult pop hits like Thankyou and White Flag from nearly two decades ago, she shines brightest when her delicate vocals are layered with beats and synths that add a laid-back yet edgy quality to her sound. It’s a sound she’s incorporated into her music since her debut, but unless you’ve dug even a little bit into her albums, you might not be familiar with this side of her.
It may also be why the album’s lead single is her best take on Sarah McLachlan: Give You Up. The song is a luminous ballad that would absolutely enhance a season finale’s climax scene given the right context, but placing it immediately after the glorious setup of Hurricanes reduces the thrill in the record pretty early on and inevitably leads to the following track Hell After This also sounding out-of-place. Redemption is fully served with the club-ready-yet-sombre Take You Home and from here on out, Dido delivers.
On Some Kind Of Love, she revisits old memories and loves through old music in a song based on lyrics written years ago by Rollo. On the closing track Have To Stay, she writes an ode to motherhood that pulls back on the beats and lets the lyrics shine simply in her performance of them.
Still On My Mind doesn’t reinvent the wheel but with it, Dido takes us for a spin to territory she’s long been familiar with, even if we didn’t know she was. And along the way, she showcases some of her best work.
Check out:Hurricanes, Take You Home, You Don’t Need A God
2. Give You Up
3. Hell After This
4. You Don’t Need A God
5. Take You Home
6. Some Kind Of Love
7. Still On My Mind
8. Mad Love
9. Walking By
12. Have To Stay