The Good: Good voice, Catchy tunes, Occasional lyric
The Bad: Repetitive, Thematically unchallenging, Silly in places
The Basics: Sadly, this uninspired, thematically inconsistent album is a step up from the garbage the Blonde Revolution is putting out. There are better challengers to that movement, though
Dido's No Angel is one of those c.d.s that starts off good, then fizzles quickly. The best tracks fall within the first half and the only ones truly worth listening to repeatedly are 1,2, and 6. They are, quite simply, the best tracks.
Well, that was uncharacteristically direct of me, allow me to digress. No Angel is pop. The only thing that saves it from being instantly panned by me is it has some decent tracks, it has some intelligence. It has some element of engaging.
The second track, "Hunter" has wonderful imagery and it displays Dido's excellent singing voice. It's smart. It's interesting and it works. It lays down a murky situation well, the feeling of captivity is spread well, the desire for freedom is built to expertly. I was surprised by how much I like the track.
The reason I find myself surprised by it is that the song is perhaps the first example of the real problem with the album (and the artist) as a whole. The first track "Here With Me" is simply repetitive (though catchy), but "Hunter" opens the kernel problem of the remaining songs on the album. They're all the same. They give an exposition, a refrain, another stanza, a refrain, a quicker bridge, the refrain, the refrain. You - and I - could come up with a hundred artists who do the same thing. The problem is Dido does nothing but. Each of the songs seems to be structured the same. And they are often overproduced, so the repetitive nature quickly goes from being catchy (driving the song into your head) to simply droll. I am plagued by knowing most of the tunes on the album very well simply by the fact that having heard the album a few times, each tune is so repeated as to insinuate itself within me.
The most problematic of these tracks is the third. "Don't Think of Me" is the peak of the produced sound, everything so perfected and sterile in sound. I confess, part of the pan of this particular track is hearing Dido say "y'all." Sigh. It doesn't work.
In the end, I think the reason I am not recommending Dido's album is that it doesn't know what it wants to be. It doesn't have purpose, aim. In the end, it has the sound of, "Well, I think this will sell." The lyrics have moments of being engaging, the music is utterly simplistic. The theme is wanting and waiting for a lover like a demur kitty, the lines try then to be strong; the album sounds like an identity crisis. The problem is, other albums do it better. Fiona Apple's Tidal is one I consider an all time great album of crisis of identity. Apple pulls it off because the lyrics are amazing and almost never Repetitive. There is consistency in the inner strength of the singer. Dido, it seems, lacks that cohesiveness. Apple succeeds because even when her strong woman is battered down, the core remains strong. Dido appears simply to fold. Bummer.
The strongest track is "Hunter," the weakest track is "Don't Think of Me," though it's a close contest ("All You Want," for instance, is a close second).
For other albums by strong women, please check out my reviews of:
The Jasmine Flower - Heather Nova
Fearless Love - Melissa Etheridge
Laws Of Illusion - Sarah McLachlan
For other music reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2010, 2001 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.