I remember the first time hearing singer, songwriter and producer Lido: I was 18 years old, watching a YouTube video of an “electronic artist” performing next to a professional orchestra. My curiosity was intrigued by the unimaginably paired vocoder complementing the viola string section; such oddly distant instruments had somehow found sweet spots in the harmonies of the other, introducing a completely new genre to my mind to be untangled. The moment I discovered Lido was the moment I realized the potential impact this man could have for the electronic genre as a whole.
Lido’s passion has always shown in his work, mostly through emotional songs about heartbreak featuring live recorded samples he proudly mixes himself. His obsession with producing recorded samples has made him one of the most distinct artists of the electronic age. Lido’s raw, organic sound is a fresh relief compared to the norm of computerized synthesizers which cloud the pop charts. Although still relatively under the radar, the amazingly talented Lido has been producing in the background for mainstream artists such as Jaden Smith, Portugal the Man, Ariana Grande, and Halsey. In gaining more and more experience over the past three years, the Norwegian based artist has taken a break from working with pop stars to introduce the world to his newest solo venture: a pair of EPs, IOU & IOU 2 – each project presenting its own unique theme regarding his present life and situations.
IOU expresses emotional themes portrayed in broken relationships. “Corner Love” is a perfect example to assess these motifs – Lido is thinking out loud regarding a current relationship, stating there is always someone that is replaceable. Low and behold, when the relationship is over, the artist is left alone drinking in the corner of a bar with no one but himself. Lido realizes that it’s the imperfections and differences in a person that makes the individual beautiful. The song “3 Million” also depicts a similar theme, as the producer is waiting in the club, only to find out his own imperfections ruin the night for him. Other songs such as “Outstanding” grasp the vulnerability of a relationship ending, reminding the other half that they are still able to achieve greatness without them.
IOU 2 establishes a dark and more complex presence. “Ex” kicks off the second album with a woman questioning the artist about past relationships, showing signs of jealousy and uncertainty. With the popular artist traveling constantly throughout the world, Lido proves to his fans that relationships are always harder when you can’t always be with the person you care about. “Flaws” further addresses this premise with Lido admitting he also has insecurities to work on, trying to reassure his partner that they can defy the odds if they commit to the relationship. Although the following song “Vultures” expresses that Lido cannot fully let his guard down while seeing another person, constantly being reminded that people are selfish in this world.
“Son of Simon” concludes the album with a heavy message dedicated to Lido’s fans. Performing in the third person, Lido is reassuring himself that his discouragement is a product of his own insecurities. He expresses his doubts musically by stating, “If your brand don’t make sense, no one will care about you.” Family, friendship, and social media addiction are also topics addressed within the doubts of his mind. Lido eventually switches back to first person, expressing his ambition to reach heaven’s gates with all of his accomplishments achieved in life. The transition from third to first person gives the impression that God is speaking to Lido about his imperfections, trying to persuade him to keep pushing through life’s trials.
Overall, IOU and IOU 2 show traits of progression in production skills and stronger vocal harmonies while highlighting the value of emotional independence. Lido is still trying to find peace in past relationships, but he is not afraid to release songs that reflect his frustration and emotional struggles. In addressing jealousy, uncertainty, and love, Lido shows impressive amounts of vulnerability, opening his heart to his fans in order to find inner peace within himself.