Damien Rice
O


4.5
superb

Review

by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
June 29th, 2006 | 60 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


In the music world today, singer/songwriters are a dime a dozen. Most of them sing well, but play guitar and write lyrics (if they write them at all) poorly. Then there is Conor Oberst, who writes fantastically but lacks in singing. Who would have thought the country of Ireland would produce the man who can do both in a genre that has been Americanized to hell? Regardless of nationality, Damien Rice has an excellent voice and plays the guitar well. His lyrics are not the greatest, but they surpass the general mainstream ability of writing.

The album O, his first full length release, showcases a mastery of the simplicity of the acoustic indie genre of music. Most songs feature Damien, his guitar, a brush drum kit, and an upright bass. String sections float overtop here and there, and vocalist Lisa Hannigan joins in for a few songs. The instrumental ability of Damien and his studio musicians is superb, and it makes perfect background music for Damien to spin his stories.

No song on the album better shows the simplicity of O than Cannonball. The song is only Damien and his guitar. The guitar plays the main vocal line along with some strumming underneath before Damien comes in. His voice comes in a bit timidly, but through time, he gains more and more strength to his voice. This works well stylistically and works well with the lyrics. During his timid sections, he's singing reflective lyrics, but when he picks up and brings more strength, the lyrics "Stones taught me to fly, love taught me to lie" is a sort of realization for him. The song follows the same verse chorus format throughout, but the chorus lines change a bit in the last reprise. Cannonball is definitely a standout track on the album.

Another standout, Volcano, is probably the most accessible and poppiest song on the album. Lisa Hannigan joins him in this song and even takes a verse herself. Also, a cello, upright bass, and drum set accompany the two singers. The two spin their stories of love and partners wanting something different from them. Nothing fancy happens in the song and all one is left to focus on is the singing and the lyrics. This song could easily reach the top 20 in the Billboard charts. It's accessible and catchy, but it's also good. Who would've thought?

The next track, the Blower's Daughter is another great song. Most of the song is only Damien, but a cello joins in on the chorus when he sings "I can't take my eyes off of you,"and also joins in the buildup to the chorus, humming the chord tones underneath the guitar. The guitar picks up some steam in the second verse and strums a little heavier. Once again, it is Damien' style to take things and build them up as the song progresses. Lisa Hannigan sings in the bridge with a heavenly voice. Damien changes the lyrics in the last chorus to "I can't take my mind off of you." He does this in many of his songs, another stylistic tendency of him.

The last real standout on the CD is Cold Water. Cold Water starts with piano with a slow delay effect. Then Damien and some faint guitar enter, showcasing Damien's best vocals on the album. His timid cry of "Lord, can you hear now?"puts out his falsetto very well. Once again, Lisa Hannigan takes the second verse, taking the song into a woman's perspective. A deep men's choir takes a bridge after Lisa's verse and chorus. Damien repeats his lyrics from the first verse while Lisa sings "Cold water" above him. There is a beautiful buildup that leads to a release of muttering of Damien and Lisa with cello playing above. Then the choir finishes off the song with beautiful chords and slowly grows and pushes to the end of the song.

O shows promise to the singer/songwriter genre that is becoming infested with sub par artists. Damien's simplicity makes his music accessible and his songs tell stories that someone actually might enjoy listening to. You get the sense of an impoverished Irish town from his music, and that relationships are the only thing you can find yourself rich in.

Recommended Tracks
Volcano
The Blower's Daughter
Cannonball
Cold Water



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user ratings (560)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
nowhereman1991 (3.5)
Rice's debut is marked by beautiful highs and, when he goes too far, dramatic lows....

Channing Freeman STAFF (4.5)
...

Hatshepsut (5)
The only album that I will rate a 5 that has cheesy lyrics....

dans107 (5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Cygnus Inter Anates
June 29th 2006


721 Comments


Pretty good review. The rating seems a little over-enthusiastic, but that's alright.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
June 29th 2006


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well, it's the average user rating as well. Thanks for the feedback though.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
June 29th 2006


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haha, well put.

What a 200th comment.This Message Edited On 06.29.06

MetalStrat22
June 29th 2006


10 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I love this album. Amazing.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
June 29th 2006


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This from a username of MetalStrat22.

Impressive.

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
June 30th 2006


1588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It is strange, this album is so great. Yet for some reason it just doesn't feel like a 5 star album to me.

Not your best review, but keep at it.

STLMiguel
June 30th 2006


335 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think "Eskimo" is the song on this album I listen to the most. He was really good live ... I saw him at Bonnaroo a few years ago and that was what convinced me to get his album.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
July 14th 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yaaThis Message Edited On 05.22.07

Two-Headed Boy
July 23rd 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is a fantastic fall-asleep-album.

Two-Headed Boy
July 23rd 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review too.This Message Edited On 07.23.06

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
July 23rd 2006


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It definitely is an album to fall asleep to.

Ending with a preposition ftw.

handsomerob2
September 23rd 2006


58 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I thought Delicate deserved to be one of the best tracks. His vocals are really struck with emotion on that track.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
September 23rd 2006


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

After hearing the live version, the album version isn't as good.

The Jungler
September 23rd 2006


4827 Comments


When the hell did Bassist get back? Good to see you.
I need this album. I had the oppurtunity to see him with Fiona Apple, but failed. Miserably. This seems to be the story of my life with good bands and local shows though.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
September 23rd 2006


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I returned today after consideration. Excuse my being a moody adolescent.

JumpTheF**kUp
December 1st 2007


2710 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album makes me cry.

Kiran
Emeritus
December 18th 2007


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album has me absolutely captivated. I definitely think "Eskimo" should be on the recommended tracks though.

ALSO EDIT

"On March 26, 2007, Damien Rice announced that his professional relationship with Lisa Hannigan has ended, saying the relationship "has run its creative course". She has since left the band."

Upset.This Message Edited On 12.18.07

JAV
June 1st 2008


1938 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Still don't know what the huge fuss about this album is.
Volcano is easily the best song, the rest are pretty boring.

taradactyl
October 9th 2008


1 Comments


This is a gorgeous album. Just georgeous. I feel that all the tracks are amazing in their own right.

Bleak123
October 9th 2008


1902 Comments


guy speaks the truth about how 'gorgeous' this album is. truly amazing stuff.This Message Edited On 10.09.08



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