The UK goddess of lite pop still sounds serene, unbothered, and preternaturally confident.
Six years after her last album, Girl Who Got Away, and 20 years after her ubiquitous debut, No Angel, Dido’s version of pop is still most distinguishable for what it lacks: drama. The London singer may be one of the UK’s best-selling artists of all time, with her keening pop mantras “Thank You” and “White Flag” still reliable soundtracks in Tescos the nation over, but her even-keel approach feels removed from the volatile acrobatics and catharsis of Adele, Amy Winehouse, Ellie Goulding, and her other peers of the past two decades. Her songs still feel like the exhalation after all the action happens; in Dido songs, the tumult has been resolved by the time she records. Her breakup ballads simmer with loss and melancholy, but no regret or indecision; sweeping love anthems have no runway left for the chase, only snug contentment and bright promises to live up to another’s faith. What her music lacks in heat, it makes up for in reliable serenity—the sense that she’s already done her emotional heavy-lifting offstage, and the song she offers is the coda, not the conduit.