Life for Rent was always going to be a tough prospect for Dido--how to follow up the multi-million selling No Angel? On initial inspection, it sounds like she's decided to stick to the safe option--if it ain't broke, don't fix it. So, it's business as usual with down-tempo beats, lush orchestrations, the odd bit of acoustic guitar and her distinctive voice as the cherry on top. However, a closer examination of the lyrics shows that the sweet happy English Rose has a much darker side to her--the joyous revelations of tracks such as "Thank You" on her debut album have been replaced by the sound of her heart breaking. Dido writes from the heart, sharing her personal life with her audience, so Life for Rent tells the tales of her life away from the recording studio, in particular her public break up with her long-term boyfriend and all the apparent mess that ensued. With tales of rows ("Stoned"), confusion following an ended love affair ("White Flag") and her inability to settle down ("Life for Rent"), it's insecurities, self doubt and despair all around. There is hope, with one of the album's musical highlights "Sand in My Shoes", which sees her going off on holiday and embarking on a holiday romance--halfway between Club 18-30 and Shirley Valentine. It's impossible not to think of Bridget Jones when listening to the album, and this, in the first instance, is the audience for whom this album will reach out and touch. --Melanie Wilkin
Repackaged Edition of the Hit Album, with Five Extra Tracks from the Aol Session Recordings ("Thank You", "White Flag", "Life for Rent", "Here with Me", "Mary's in India"). Features New Artwork.