Dido likes to take her sweet time. It’s been five whole years since her last album, Life for Rent, and her third LP, Safe Trip Home, arrives with about as much bravado as the music itself. The album might be Dido’s least adventurous to date, her brand of vanilla soul going down like a warm cup of milk on tracks like the lead single “Don’t Believe in Love” and “Quiet Times,” the lyrics of which pretty much capture her overall state of mind: “My home is home and I’m settled now/I’ve made it through the restless phase.” Still, there’s a timeless quality to the songwriting and production, and Dido’s voice is as supple as ever. “The Day Before the Day,” an ode to her late father, isn’t just a heart-tugger because of its words (“Speeches won’t be made/Clocks will carry on…But we will know that you are gone”) but because of the singer’s quietly rueful vocal performance. “Grafton Street” is both musically and lyrically interesting, with a subtle tribal beat courtesy of Mick Fleetwood, electronic ambience that recalls Dido’s 1999 debut courtesy of Brian Eno, and unique, off-kilter line breaks and a European-sounding recorder melody courtesy of the artist herself. Where her previous albums were anchored by strong singles like “Here with Me” and “White Flag,” Safe Trip Home‘s strength lies in these less commercially viable tracks, but sadly, “Let’s Do the Things We Normally Do” is one of only a couple of occasions in which Jon Brion’s production comes anywhere near the opulent buoyancy of his work on Fiona Apple’s Extraordinary Machine.
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: