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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 October, 2003, 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK
Predictable pop queen returns
by Tom Bishop
BBC News Online Entertainment

Dido is a favourite with radio listeners
Brits winner Dido releases her second album but can it emulate the success of her debut, No Angel?

The singer-songwriter's first album sold more than 12 million copies worldwide following its release two years ago.

As a result, Dido was crowned Britain's highest earning female singer in 2002, beating Enya into second place.

Click here to review the album yourself

Dido's persona remains the girl next door who sings to herself about new love, old love and lost love.

As she admits on White Flag: "I'm in love and always will be."


Her mellow pop is such a hit with daytime radio that, like songs floating over the garden fence, you can always hear Dido whether you want to or not.

Like the first single, much of Life For Rent puts soft beats beneath the melody while keyboards, guitar and other strings hover behind.

Dido's strength lies in her choruses, which remain infectious enough to reserve a place in the Top 10 for Don't Leave Home and the title track.

But her formulaic mid-paced sound has become too familiar. Dido's plain singing voice, which fades into a whisper if strained beyond her limited range, does nothing to renew interest.


Things pick up on Who Makes You Feel, a jerky mix of wind instruments and shimmers based around a scratchy sample, and Do You Have A Little Time which tantalisingly tip-toes towards you.

Sadly, these rays of light appear late in the album, when many listeners will already be half-asleep.

Like a favourite jumper dug out at the start of autumn, Dido's music will keep you warm but is hardly thrilling.

Life For Rent will no doubt sell millions, but even devoted fans will demand more surprises next time around.

Life for Rent is on the Cheeky record label.

Have you heard the album? How does it compare to No Angel?

This debate is now closed. Please see below for a selection of your comments.

Very disappointing. White Flag is the only song that matches the quality of her first record. Others have their moments but sound half finished to me, though I do admire her way of capturing how life's most mundane details can either break your heart or lift you up. Too bad she forgot to pair this gift with polished lyrics and catchy hooks - there isn't a memorable melody to be found here.
Brad Latendresse, Canada

Some very good tracks, some aural wallpaper, but in a world dominated by Pop Idol and its ilk, this is a better CD than most of the music buying public has a right to expect. It's harmless, occasionally quirky, but overall it's teenage angst dressed up in a Bridget Jones sort of way. For those who hate it, cheer up! There must be a Fame Academy single around the corner.
Simon Ridley, England

The album as a whole is stronger than No Angel but there are no songs that come close to the lush, beautiful tunes of Here With Me or Hunter. I'll excuse this album as her sophomore slump and expect the third to be fantastic. Still, White Flag is one of the better pop singles out there.
David Tran, USA

Highlights for me are Who Makes You Feel, Do You Have a Little Time and White Flag - I think she should stick to the Trip-Hop feel and lose the folk/country stuff.
Stefan, USA

This is an amazing CD, and Dido has created beautiful, relatable art here... I've been playing over and over again and will continue to do, without getting sick of it - that's a sign of something having a lasting quality.
Jander Lacerda, US, New York

Absolutely beautiful. A fantastic album. She has a superb voice, evoking emotion in the listener with every word she sings. Better than all the other artist-wannabees trying to get on Fame Academy and Pop Idol.
Zarina, England

I think most reviewers have missed the point that on this album, Dido does what Dido has always done. No Angel was pleasant but hardly groundbreaking, and the same can be said for Life For Rent, although the second album is superior.

This is what Dido is about, and to suddenly expect a musical masterpiece or change in direction is a little unrealistic. This is what the artist is about, and in this way she is being honest. The album is good, but dies a little in the middle section. It is however very good if undemanding background music and there is nothing wrong with that.
Robin Benstead, UK

I was shocked, i thought it was impossible for No Angel to be topped, but Life For Rent is wicked, it's really chillin' out music! Best songs - White Flag and See The Sun.
Gem, UK

I think she really struggles with the lyrics on this album. They just don't flow well enough. It seems like she's had to force the words to fit the melody (made me cringe in several places). And, to me, the use of the orchestra strings sounds a bit dated. I loved the first album but it seems the pressure and possible time restraints have proved too much for her......hopefully she'll put a bit more of herself into a third album and take the time to get it right. But I won't be listening to this one much.
Les, England

I didn't enjoy the album that much on first listen - like the reviewer I felt it needed picking up around track seven - but I've heard it a couple of times since then and it's growing on me.

I remember something similar happening with the first album (which I bought on import after hearing Here With Me in a record shop). I played it to a few people who didn't seem all that impressed with it until Dido was coming out of the radios everywhere.
Matt Cochrane, UK

Well all I can say is brilliant. It may be safe and the same for some, but I like the style and I like the music. Far better than some bands and artists who think they are cutting edge but are a mere pastiche of days gone by (The Darkness anyone?) Every CD collection should have this album!
Henry, UK

Every song she sings sounds the same, her blandness knows no bounds, the whole thing's depressing and I cant think of anyone who has a white flag above their door.
Gary Colbert, UK

I adore this album: it's warm, it's beautiful, it's tender. If you think she can't sing, try listening to all the other artists out there who are much, much worse.

Dido can carry a tune and the songs are perfect for her. If you can't stand it, don't listen to it. If you love it, you'll want to hear it over and over again. It's shame that some of you are so negative.
Jackie Smith, Belgium

What a zzzzzzzz fest. Another dull soulless album from a fluke star who will prove to be a one hit wonder I'm sure.
Howard, England

Dido has a vocal range of half an octave and a musical repertoire of two songs that are quite good, but not that different in the first place. I've listened to this album, and the only thing surprising about it is that people are still falling for this rubbish. The only UK act with more undeserving hype are The Darkness.
Catherine, Scotland

Unbelievably dreary and musically without merit, it's an awful album which will probably sell millions.
Phil, England

For someone who sounds like Fozzy Bear she has sold lots of records! I can't see the attraction in listening to music which replicates itself from track to track. It's purely for the Bridget Jones angst posse!
Shaun Barton, UK

Horrible - even worse than No Angel and that's saying something. Truly a one trick pony (and not a very clever trick at that.) Her voice is dirge-like and the lyrics to almost all the songs are banal.

She made millions from her first album (and the Eminem track she was sampled on). Please retire now with what remains of your artistic credibility intact.
Paul, Scotland

I was a passenger in a car at the weekend with the driver who was listening to Dido's CD. I wish I'd walked.
Neil Reeve, France

Absolutely fantastic, White Flag is again a Dido masterpiece, the melody and lyrics swarm around your ears like a gentle warm breeze on a summers evening. I can't wait for her next album, Dido is a fantastic British export. Keep up the fantastic music.
James Diprose, UK

My copy arrived on Saturday and I have listened to it that many times that I've almost learned all of the words! It's a fantastic album, every song on it is wonderful.
Jane Rutherford, Scotland

Come on critics, wake up and smell the coffee! This album is going to sell zillions! You buy a Dido album and you get what it says on the tin - a Dido album, it has great lyrics and is really soulful. White Flag is a masterpiece! Some tracks could be critised for being samey on the first listen, but listen again and be impressed.
Zak, United Kingdom

Dido double dazzles Brits
21 Feb 02  |  Entertainment
Dido: The rising angel
14 Jan 02  |  Entertainment
Dido makes UK's female rich list
31 Dec 01  |  Entertainment
Shaggy and Dido lead album sales
21 Dec 01  |  Entertainment


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