Dido
Life For Rent


3.5
great

Review

by RandyfromPennywise USER (34 Reviews)
June 21st, 2006 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


Dido - Life For Rent (2003)

Dido's powerful yet angelic voice is the centrepiece of Life For Rent, and all of Dido's music for that matter. Aside from purely “Pop”, a genre is hard to define. I've been listening to this album today (I'm listening to it right now actually), and I think it is most closely related to the songs from The Chillout Sessions compilations, for those of you familiar with them. I'd say Dido's music is essentially relaxed, even tranquil Pop music. Life For Rent is certainly a 'relaxing' album, floating between positive, buoyant moments intertwined with mellow, serene songs. I believe that Dido writes the majority (if not all) of her lyrics, and is the major creative force behind her music.

Life For Rent is basically music a lot of your parents would like to hear on a quiet Sunday afternoon. This is not to say it is 'bad' at all, just that this album pretty much has no “grunt”: Life For Rent's got no balls whatsoever. Although not necessary for a decent Pop album, the fact that the album canters along at such a slow pace leads to many of the tracks blending into one. Despite the potential vagueness, you can't deny that Dido's vocals are at times unbelievably catchy. Sand In My Shoes was in my head for weeks a few years ago when I first heard this album, and I still see it as one of the outstanding tracks on the album.

See You When You're 40 falls into the category of so much of Life For Rent being almost too subtle for its own good. Without extending her voice, Dido's beatific vocals can linger just a touch too long, although it is not a change in vocals this album needs - as Dido is undeniably a very talented vocalist - but it's an occasional change in direction. A faster-paced, even Pop-Rock number would break up the uniformity of Life For Rent, but one wonders whether Dido would suit anything other than what she currently offers up. Songs such as Who Makes You Feel and Do You Have A Little Time are quintessentially 'nice' songs, in need of a genuine climax. However, the album is essentially a mellow, serene 50 minutes and it's perhaps because I am fundamentally a Rock and Punk fan that I crave some more bite from Life For Rent. Having said that, I can fully appreciate the genuinely first-rate songs on this album.

White Flag is probably the song you have heard from this album, and it reached #1 in Australia and #2 in Britain. It is the archetypal Pop love song, done well. Telling of her eternal devotion to what appears to be either an ex-boyfriend or an unrequited love, this is Dido-Pop at its best. 'White Flag' was always going to be the hit single from this album. Caught between uplifting and melancholy, the lyrics may perhaps be generic but will certainly strike a chord with a huge proportion of listeners. Everyone can relate to unrequited love. The lingering, sedate piano complements the string-section backing, providing one of the most instrumentally-appealing tracks on the album. Life For Rent seems to use all of its changes-of-pace in the first 10 minutes, but the smooth dance track Stoned is a certain stand-out. The dulcet tones of Miss Armstrong combine with the polite electro-Dance beat to make 'Stoned' another undeniably 'nice' song. Inoffensive. There, that's probably one of the best ways to describe Dido Armstrong. Inoffensive yet not indistinguishable.

Life For Rent was another single from its namesake but wasn't as successful as 'White Flag'. Some of the better lyrics on the album - despite being rather generic - the title track is a contemplative and reflective lyrical piece, primarily supported by the acoustic guitar that this album could have done with some more of. So on to my personal favourite track, the effervescent Sand In My Shoes. Yet another love song, the relentless instrument part which I think is from a xylophone accompanies the catchiest chorus on the album. This track would certainly not sound out of place on a Chillout Sessions CD and it captures that sentiment effortlessly. 'Sand In My Shoes', along with 'White Flag', drags this album above many of the contributions from Dido's contemporaries, and Life For Rent confirms Dido's status as a genuinely talented, unassuming modern Pop artist.

Recommendations: White Flag, Sand In My Shoes, Stoned, Life For Rent.



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user ratings (87)
Chart.
3.5
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Michael Philp (4)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
RandyfromPennywise
June 21st 2006


752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah so this review is one of my shortest ones, and I've taken a different approach here. Any feedback would be appreciated. Too short?

EDIT: I was thinking of giving this album a 4/5, but Dido's an Arsenal fan :upset:This Message Edited On 06.21.06

Bron-Yr-Aur
June 21st 2006


4405 Comments


No I'd say it's a good length. Great job.

RandyfromPennywise
June 21st 2006


752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cheers, yeah I thought really who wants to read 1500 words on a Dido album from three years ago, so I kept it quite trim. I think it's long enough really. Like a good skirt: Short enough to maintain interest, long enough to cover the essentials.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 21st 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Adequate review, although being a Dido fan I'd want more.
This album was pretty excellent I'd say. That is all.

RandyfromPennywise
June 21st 2006


752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah I quite like the album really. I was just a bit hesitant to give it a 4 because of the sameness of most of the songs. Meh, Dido's got a great voice anyway.

morrissey
Moderator
June 21st 2006


1688 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I find the album pretty bland but that doesn't make it a bad album. It just don't have enough there to hold my attention for extended lengths of time but in short doses it is great stuff. And I especially like "White Flag", for no particular reason. And yeah, I really like her voice too.

RandyfromPennywise
June 21st 2006


752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You've pretty much summed up exactly my feelings for the album there morrissey. I have the album on iTunes and occasionally flick through it but would only really listen to the tracks I recommended in full, the album's just a bit too similar the whole way through.

Med57
Moderator
June 21st 2006


1001 Comments


Good review...I like your writing style. I agree with you on the recommended tracks, but the rest of the album, for me, is very skippable. She's got a nice voice, but there's only so much of it that I can take at one sitting.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
June 21st 2006


2713 Comments


What Med said.

Sepstrup
June 23rd 2006


1564 Comments


I really hate Dido for some reason. Her voice is just incredibly annoying to me.

nag*with*a*gun
June 23rd 2006


420 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

her voice is really good, but the style of music is the annoying thing. it's so mellow and calm. usually, at least to me, calm is boring.

JumpTheF**kUp
December 13th 2006


2717 Comments


My sister owns this album, and it's not bad at all. Great review as well, totally agree with the recommended tracks.

MrKite
February 14th 2007


5020 Comments


She's got a nice voice. That's really the only thing I like. I can't see myself getting this.

Really great review, too.

BallsToTheWall
July 26th 2008


44805 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just found this, very nice album.

Willie
Moderator
July 26th 2008


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The first album is great. this one is a let down after the debut.

Digging: Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era

CelestialDust
September 26th 2009


3157 Comments


i like how the review from yesterday on this already has 20x more comments than this review from '06

Eclectic
September 26th 2009


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol, that's because Atavan Halen started a thread on it

lucasjcockcroft
October 28th 2011


3714 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this gets a 3.5 just for white flag.

Hoppip
December 23rd 2012


136 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I adore white flag. Not crazy about the rest of the album though.



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