Summary

Differences between Dido albums can be measured on a small sliding scale. She never changes her style but she does change her sound, however subtly. Girl Who Got Away, her fourth album and first in five years, differs from its predecessor, the meticulously woven Safe Trip Home. That was an album tailored for domesticity, while Girl Who Got Away is a soundtrack for a night out, going so far as to make space for a guest spot for Kendrick Lamar, the alt-crossover rapper du jour of 2013. Dido's night on the town isn't quite a dingy pub crawl: it's tasting menus and craft cocktails where the crowds bustle but never jostle. Sophistication is a given, but there's a surprising undercurrent of sensuality that runs throughout the album, a sleekness that suggests a distillation of the stiff club-soul of Elle Goulding, a shimmer that blends quite seamlessly with Dido's sculpted songs. As a particularly affectless singer, Dido is quite adaptable to her gently shifting surroundings, so she feels perfectly at home in this neon-streaked production, savoring how it swings from understated but insistent beats to a soft acoustic bed. Perhaps it's lifestyle music, designed to reflect the aspirations and desires of her audience, but it's impeccably executed and slyly seductive lifestyle music. Halfway through, Girl Who Got Away sucks you into its sway, its comforts as alluring as they are elusive. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine