Wednesday, July 09, 2003

O, DIDO, DIDO: Okay, it's not the world's greatest palindrome, but its ours. We can't really say we've been panting with anticipation for the return of Rolo's sister - indeed, we'd come to terms with our assumption that she'd started to carve out a future in Dry Cleaning or ensuring the Value Yoghurts with the shortest date code are always at the front of the cooler, but it seems that she's been busy in the studio making new records.

Today, she emerged, blinking in the daylight, to take the first fruit to Jo Wylie on Radio One. This is appropriate, really, because we've always thought that Jo and Do have a lot in common - both blonde, obviously; both given a leg-up through a partnership with a man who knows his music but never smiles (Lammo and Eminem respectively); neither fulfilling a major, aching human need with their work but doing not unpleasant work in tricky roles in a functional manner (Jo: filling the gap between Sara Cox and Mark Radcliffe; Dido: giving Virgin Radio something to play when the computer insists its got to be a female vocalist, and they've already played Sk8r Boi and I'm With You that day).

That perhaps there's no real need for Dido to carry on actually producing music was demonstrated by the questions sent in by listeners, nearly all of which asked about other acts with which she's been associated one way or another (all of whom have moved on without her). Most sadly of all, asked if she's still in touch with Eminem Dido confirmed that she wasn't really much in touch with him to begin with but "if we were in the same place at the same time, I hope he'd say hi" - which, of course, starts to make her sound less like the collaborator on Stan and more like the protagonist.

And then - the new single; the first play of the first track from the new material. It's called White Flag, and while the "how apt" gag hovers before me, I'm going to reject it simply because in a real surrender, the flag gets to show a bit of life; gets waved about a bit. In the video for 'Here With Me', Dido sings while laying down on a sofa. It sounds like she's now assumed this position in the studio. This sounds a bit like the last stuff, only somehow fenced-in. A Dido less of a hunter, more of a caged beast. Sure, her voice is as sweet as ever, but the entire thing winds up just sounding really, really flat. A tune imprisoned, it slips desperate notes into its food begging for someone, anyone to give a decent remix and let it strut about a bit.

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