Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
I See a Darkness



by Scott Herren USER (42 Reviews)
January 28th, 2005 | 5 replies

Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Bonnie "Prince" Billy is a moniker used by Will Oldham. The former actor, turned musician relies on simple, bleak instrumentation, combined with fragile vocals to create beautiful and delicate songs. Oldham was an actor during the late 80s and early 90s before turning his focus to music and released his debut album There is No-one What Will Take Care of You in 1993 under the name Palace Songs.

Oldham released a couple other albums using the palace moniker, and an album under his own name before finally sticking with Bonnie "Prince" Billy on 1998's Black Dissimulation, and 1999's I See a Darkness. Oldham has since released a few other albums, but none match the raw emotion and power of I See a Darkness.

Prior to this release, Oldham had been focused on creating emotional and minimalistic pieces of music, but on I See a Darkness, he seems to be more focused on creating beautiful melodies without losing the emotion, and the result is an album that is more listenable. One the album he belts out song after song of amazing yet sad lyrics and somber vocals. This is a powerful album that commands full attention of the listener.

Will Oldham - Musician
Paul Oldham - Musician
David Pajo - Mixing
Konrad Strauss - Mastering

This is one of those albums that carries the same mood throughout, and thus a track by track review isn't appropriate. There isn't a bad song out of the 11, as each blends beautiful piano melodies with bleak, weary vocals. This is a depressing album at times, but it is the ultimate album to listen to when you are depressed because it is so easy to relate to the lyrics, also the album ends on a bit of an inspirational note.

The highlights on the album are the gorgeous "A Minor Place", the minimal "Nomadic Revery (All Around)", the slow builder and title track "I See a Darkness", the sad sad "Death to Everyone", the upbeat change of pace on "Madeleine-Mary", and the lone love song and album closer "Raining in Darling". Really I hate to choose favorites though because this is such an excellent whole album.

Favorite Tracks
"A Minor Place"
"Nomadic Revery (All Around)"
"I See a Darkness"
"Death To Everyone"
"Raining in Darling

Recommended for fans of:
Neil Young
Elliott Smith

This isn't an album that everyone can enjoy, sadly, and for that reason I cannot give this a perfect score. I definatly think that everyone should check Bonnie "Prince" Billy out, because for most people his music provides a very emotional experience.

Rating: 4.5/5

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user ratings (221)
other reviews of this album
robertsona STAFF (3.5)
Strummity, strummity, strummity, feelings, feelings, feelings....

Drsmith4 (5)
I See A Darkness - with its bleak instrumentation and memorably morose lyrics - is a nearly flawless...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Tangy zizzle
January 28th 2005



Oldham is a legend, albeit an underrated one.

Tangy zizzle
January 28th 2005


My last comment still standing, that's not the greatest review you've done.

Pretty bare, not much detail.

April 7th 2005


This is a great album.

I love all the artwork that comes with it.

La Revolucion
November 17th 2007


This needs more comments.

November 17th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

Decent album but it is a bit too sullied and slow to make it a regular listen

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