Dido
Life For Rent


4.0
excellent

Review

by Eclectic USER (42 Reviews)
September 25th, 2009 | 207 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Would you like honesty with that?

Honesty is an issue that has plagued the pop music industry since it began. Immense amounts of money are put into hiding the flaws that pop stars exhibit, hiding what makes them human. This has two effects, the first being the star’s inevitable rise to god-like status and then their even more inevitable plummet when the world realises they’re not perfect, in fact they’re far from it. The other effect is to alienate them from the people who know about the former and have long-since stopped caring.
Dido, along with a few other pop singers, stands out from the crowd mentioned above, and she proves it with Life For Rent. It might seem pretentious to say that I know Dido Armstrong just because I listened to one of her albums but frankly that’s how I feel. There’s such a strong personal touch added to this album that I can’t help it. Simple things like the tapping toes in the background of "Mary’s In India" or how most of the stories contained within the song lyrics are told from a first person viewpoint. In particular, things like the tapping help give the production a refreshing homey feel. It’s not perfect (notice how she struggles to hit the higher notes in "See You When You’re 40") but not only is that far from being a flaw, it’s a positive. It shows that Dido and her team aren’t trying to hide anything; they’re not trying to be perfect.

When you listen to Dido’s singles you get an idea of this, but listening to the whole album accentuates it immensely. We all know the Dido Armstrong that is presented to the world, the one that sings of unrequited love (Sand In My Shoes) and philosophical messages designed so the masses can sing along (Life For Rent) but underneath that is a far darker and more intriguing side. The easiest way to show this is by giving an example of her more depressing lyrics. The downright creepy "Don’t Leave Home".

“When I’ve been here for just one day
You’ll already miss me when I go away
So close the blinds and shut the door
You won’t need other friends anymore”

The song speaks of how depression worms its way into the sufferer’s consciousness and takes over, subtly shutting out the rest of the world bit by bit.
Armstrong is also smart enough, however, to make this more than just a collection of songs. There are clever ties to other songs within the lyrics. For instance, in "See The Sun" we are presented with this line:
“I’m coming ‘round to open up the blinds.”
The progression from Don’t Leave Home is obvious and makes us feel as if the next part of the story has been told. The somewhat happy ending if you like, as the song deals with finding your way out of depression and picking yourself up from the fall.

If asked to find criticism of this album its not terribly hard, most of the musical arrangements are fairly simple (usually an acoustic guitar, piano, or drums, and occasionally violin, or a mixture of all 4). While this does support my earlier statement of the production being imperfect and honest, it also makes a lot of the album sound almost exactly the same, as the tracks tend to blend together in every way except the lyrics. If it wasn’t for that than this could easily be a 4.5, but it’s impossible to give it that when the technicality just isn’t there.

Refreshingly honest and impeccably arranged lyrically, Life For Rent is one of the better pop releases out there, there’s more here than first meets the eye, if you’re willing to spend the time with it and notice the subtle intricacies of the album.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Eclectic
September 25th 2009


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I have attempted to take onboard all the criticisms of my last review and make this one better, hopefully it shows.

Normally I wouldn't post this so soon after my last one but I put my back out today and spent most of my afternoon doing nothing except sit at the computer, leading me to the conclusion that there really was no point in not posting this now.

AtavanHalen
September 25th 2009


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well now, you win on your avatar alone

Willie
Moderator
September 25th 2009


17303 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I don't know if I read your last review, but this isn't bad for a number 2.

Eclectic
September 25th 2009


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol, thanks Atavan, even though I'm surprised it got that kind of reaction from you.

@Willie: Thanks, I always endeavour to improve my writing whenever possible so I would hope this is better than my first by even a small margin.

BallsToTheWall
September 25th 2009


48187 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Rules.

Digging: CZARFACE - Every Hero Needs a Villain

shade
September 25th 2009


1198 Comments


Now I have that fucking eminem song stuck in my head

Eclectic
September 25th 2009


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol, well done

AtavanHalen
September 25th 2009


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Why are you surprised? I love Amelie.

Eclectic
September 25th 2009


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome, you learn something new every day. Its just that 99 out of 100 people I know haven't even heard of the film, let alone like it.

AtavanHalen
September 25th 2009


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

(whispers) Fifteen!

Eclectic
September 25th 2009


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wow, lucky. I really should watch it again, I've been meaning to ever since I picked up the soundtrack.

AtavanHalen
September 25th 2009


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hehe. So we can be friends? :D

Eclectic
September 25th 2009


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I thought we were already, lol

AtavanHalen
September 25th 2009


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well, I didn't actually know who you were before you posted this so I guess this is like introductionzz

Eclectic
September 25th 2009


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ahhh, now I understand.

introductionzz FTW!

:D

AtavanHalen
September 26th 2009


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm David; I'm the pop kid (obvz, see avatar) but I also like a lot of different music (obvz, see ratings) and I'm from Australia (not so obvz I guess)

Eclectic
September 26th 2009


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I got the last part from your Short Stack review, which I still regard as one of the best on here, and your association with Dougie, who is so obviously Australian its funny.

Me? I'm Michael, I'm the same as you pretty much, I listen to a lot of different music (hence the username) but still enjoy the odd pop/mainstream album or two (obviously since I wrote this review). And I too am from Australia, the lucky country.

AtavanHalen
September 26th 2009


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Awesome sauce; whereabouts. We got a few Melbourne kids, a couple from Perf and one from Newcastle

Eclectic
September 26th 2009


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ooh, who's the Perth guys? I'm in Goulburn, which is an hour's drive out of Canberra, but I originally hail from the west and am plannin on moving back there in a few years.

Also, where do you currently reside?

AtavanHalen
September 26th 2009


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Spare and Reddanihilation, I believe, are both from W.A.



Yeah, I know Goulburn. Not a great place, hahaha. My home is about an hour and a bit down from the highlands.



I'm a NSW south coast kid, but I spend most of my time in Wollongong.



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