Few musicians encapsulate that strange period of post-millennial angst and ennui more than Dido. Her massively popular albums No Angel and Life For Rent were inescapable around the turn of the century, their blandly tasteful sounds offering easily accessible comfort to millions.
Dido, Glasgow Armadillo **
That ubiquity quickly bred contempt among those who take umbrage at the thought of music being a mere background wash. Her name became a byword for soporific MOR. 20 years on, that stigma still lingers, but she has no one to blame but herself. Her output still gently reeks of discarded chill-out CDs, Ivor Novello Awards and John Lewis adverts. Music to vote Lib Dem to.
She seems like a perfectly nice person. Between songs during this well-received (not by me) show, she displayed a warm personality she’s never managed to capture on record.
Winningly unpretentious, she came across as a cheery primary school classroom assistant doing a surprisingly professional turn at the Christmas party.
The problem is her voice. It’s certainly pleasant, technically good and all of that, but it doesn’t appear to be capable of expressing genuine emotion. That’s odd, as Dido writes her own introspective songs. Maybe it’s because they’re all so vague. Life For Rent is vaguely profound. No Freedom is vaguely spiritual. Sand In My Shoes is vaguely danceable in a vaguely Balearic way.
The only hints of depth came during an acoustic spot, where she sang (albeit vaguely) about death and depression. Dido 2019: still inoffensive to a fault. Paul Whitelaw