Music Review: Dido's "Girl Who Got Away"
I'm sure you remember Dido from her earlier hits like "Here With Me" and "White Flag", but her latest album, "Girl Who Got Away", solidifies her as one of the best singer/songwriters out there. The first single, "No Freedom", deals with the concept of being able to love and be free to be yourself at the same time.
The title track, "Girl Who Got Away" isn't about what I thought it would be about- THE girl who got away- as in the girl who was right for you but it didn't work out. Dido's song is about a girl who actually gets away- as in the girl who gets away from the trials and stresses of life. The girl who dances to the last song and loves more than anyone. She touches on some of the issues of bullying and feeling like an outcast that came from her adolescence. It is a song of hope for anyone who has ever felt like they didn't fit in. In this song, the girl not only gets away, she gets the last laugh.
Dido is known for her unusual duets (remember Eminem?), and she does it once again with "Let Us Move On" featuring Kendrick Lamar, a young rapper from Compton. The song is another one of hope, urging the listener to resist the urge to let the trouble in their life get the best of them by turning to drugs. It reminds us that "this too shall pass".
"Blackbird" is a fun little song that has quirky lyrics like "He put the coffee in the cup and with milk, he filled it up. He added sugar and I never knew he like it like that." Even though it's makes you want to dance, the biting lyrics reveal that it's actually a song about a painful love affair. "Why do I give you love when all you give is pain?" The blackbird is her heart, and who among us hasn't felt our heart turn dark when someone doesn't treat us the way we deserve. I love this song. I always like it when the lyrics are darker than the music. It is cathartic to listen to but doesn't make you want to jump off a ledge.
"Sitting On The Roof of The World" is a beautiful ballad about her sudden rise to fame, and now how she has returned to a more normal life with a husband and a child. She also hearkens back to her childhood when she felt different from the other kids and how she really just wanted to fit in. The music is beautiful with lovely guitar work.
One of my favorites on the album is "Happy New Year". The girl goes out on New Year's Eve alone. At first, I wasn't sure why. Has her lover left her? But no. I don't think so. I think he's gone from this world. You can feel the cold air as she walks through the snow. You can feel her loneliness and longing as she takes a train to the coast. She has to move on with her life into the new year without her love. But she takes him with her in her heart.
Finally, I want to talk about my favorite song on the album. "Day Before We Went to War" is a song about 9/11. It takes you back to the moment when all of our lives changed. Never before had their been such a collective experience that reached all of us. I was seeing a patient when my friend, Lisa, tapped on the door and told me that my mother was on the phone. This was unusual for her to call during the day. When I got on the phone, she told me that a plane had hit one of the towers. And I knew right then that we were at war. Lisa and I left the office and went to get her daughter from school. As we drove down the highway, all was so quiet. No birds. No traffic noise. Just a beautiful sunny sky. And a sign that said that the President had just declared a state of emergency for the entire country. And Lisa reached over and took my hand. This song is special to me for so many reasons, not the least of which that I lost my friend Lisa 2 weeks ago and bought this album just after she died. When I heard the song, I was back on that day. September 11. With my friend again.
This song takes the listener back to the mundane: unmade beds, rushing off to school or work, birds singing in the trees, dirty dishes in the sink. The way most of us leave the house in the morning. The way we all left the house that morning. But nothing was the same when we returned. If we returned.
The music ebbs and flows until finally it swells into a crescendo as the two planes fly into the sun. I swear I can see it still as I listen. I am transported as only music can do.
As you can tell, I love this album. It's one of those rare treats that is good in its entirety. Dido's has one of those unique voices that simply speaks to my heart.
You can get it here at iTunes
or you can get it in my Amazon store on the right of this page.
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