Cherub Pop (Dido article)

Thanks to Sloane for sending this in!

Time, June 7, 1999

Cherub Pop
A heavenly debut from the British singer Dido


Dreamy pop, electronica shadings, folk guitars and soulful vocals bend and blend together on No Angel (Arista), the debut album by British singer-songwriter Dido. Despite the denial in the title, this is for the most part heavenly music. The songs are sweet and soothing, but because they are anchored by strong, captivating beats, they never float away.

The 26-year-old Dido has music in her family: her brother Rollo, 32, is the leader of the British trip-hop group Faithless. When Dido initially decided to pursue a musical career, Rollo warned her against it. “He basically said, ‘Look, there are a million better singers than you in the world,'” says Dido. “He never saw it because he’s my brother–and that’s fair enough. He’s sort of come round to the idea, and of course now he’s passionately behind it.”

Her new album should go a long way toward convincing any other doubters. There are more than a few standout tracks: All You Want manages to be both tender and anthemic; the song Thank You has a captivatingly bouncy rhythm; and Hunter moves gracefully from acoustic balladry to techno-pop.

Parts of this album evoke aspects of other acts: the clear, warm vocals of Sarah McLachlan, the techno-folk of Beth Orton. Dido even looks a bit like Jewel. Dido’s strong, throaty singing, however, distills her influences and makes her sound singular. Her lyrics could be a bit more pointed: “I just want to feel safe in my own skin/ I just want to be happy again” go the rather bland words to Honestly OK. But the real energy in Dido’s songs is in the rhythm, in the smooth collision of genres and in the emotional details that her voice provides. This debut sparkles with promise.


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