on 12 April 2007
The follow-up to the surprise hit album 'O'. Damien Rice returns with his second-album '9' packed with more powerful,melancholy ballads and subtle folk-esque jams, in my opinion a very good come back.
1.9 Crimes - It features the beautiful vocals of his long time collaborator Lisa Hannigan. This song is so hauntingly beautiful, to me this song is about someone who falls in love while they are still with someone else. It is hard for them because they no longer love the person they are with but fell guilt for falling for someone new. As before with his other songs he serves us some beautiful balladry with swooning strings and minimalistic piano just compliment Damien and Lisa's voices. It was also the lead single, which had a very cool rather unusual video 9/10
2.The Animals Were Gone - Again another haunting song, and with very strong metaphorical characteristics, he wakes up and realises his partner is gone there for the animals that he is referring to is his happiness, I love how delicate he sounds, yet so powerful, with Lisa again aiding him through it which sounds like a funny thing to say but i always feel listening to his songs are like reading his diary so personal and raw great song, although towards the end it does begin to go one for too long. 10/10
3.Elephant - Originally called 'The Blowers Daughter Part II' this song really hits home to me. To me it seems like he's trying to get over someone he's been in love, and in doing so he's settling for someone else..."and she may cry like a baby, and she may drive me crazy but i am lately lonely". This is a continuation of the Blower's Daughter which ends "I can't take my mind off of you, till I find somebody new" this song is about finding someone new, trying to make it work, but failing at it because settling never works. Very good and this song shows the actual power in his voice which is absolutely amazing if i do say so myself, great stuff 8/10
4.Rootless Tree - I love this song so much, I've listened to this song alot while i was going through a situation and this was exactly my attitude after everything was said and done, its a lamentation of how much you've been through with someone and they still try to come back to so in the end you have to be cruel to be kind...and sing the chorus. I felt he just wanted to be left alone the person in question had zapped all his love and energy that he feels like a 'rootless tree' can't give anymore otherwise he'll die (not literally more emotionally), great message. 10/10
5.Dogs - A little more upbeat than the song before, I think the way he talks of the person in question, the references to dressing in white, moving like a little girl and especially "She picks the dead ones from the ground" is about a purity that is somewhat naive to the world around it, I love this song personally seems to be about jealousy, it made me laugh when i heard the song was originally called "The Girl That Goes Yoga"...cute 10/10
6.Coconut Skins - One of few songs I haven't really enjoyed as much, I always assumed the term 'coconut skins' just symbolized nothingness, they were just hanging out simply doing nothing. But then I don't think its supposed to come off as a pessimistic song like the others. 7/10
7.Me, My Yolk & I - Now I've got to admit when i heard this i thought this was stupid, but listening to it the song is very sexual!, Someone i know said that it was like Kelis' track 'Milkshake' but (in his words) 'for the lads', In some ways hes right not a massive fan of this one i gotta say 6/10
8.Grey Room - One of my favorites off the new record, it offers a great deal of contrast to some of the other tunes. I think his 'Grey Room is clinical depression and just trying to surface from that and carry on with his life, I'm sure people who have suffered from depression (me included) you will relate to this song and even smile like i did when i heard it very good song loved it. 10/10
9.Accidental Babies - My favourite song here if iPod could cry it would! This song is so beautiful and full of emotion. Damien's voice in this song is utterly flawless in my opinion. Reading the lyrics it seems to be about either an affair or knowing an your ex partner has moved on quicker than expect and just asking the age old "are they better than me" question. I love the way it's just piano and vocal, no fluff, no background vocals, just pure raw emotion. I've got to say when i first had this playing i laid on my bedroom floor and cried it wasn't just the lyrics i got emotional over it was the atmosphere. Beautiful 10/10
10.Sleep Don't Weep - Another favourite, this song is about forgiveness and appropriately the end track, usually i have track 9 and this one on repeat when I'm not in a great mood and i just need to vent out my frustration. I've always thought it sounds alot like 'Cold Water' from 'O'
Damien and Lisa sound absolutely stunning I cannot praise their performance enough on this one. The thing i thought was weird was that the actual track time is 21:54 the song being around 5 minutes the rest of the time is blank space and followed by weird noises, he could of at least put hidden tracks on it like on 'O' 10/10
5.The Animals Were Gone
I recommend this to anyone who loved the first album or just someone who loves a good cry hehe.
on 25 May 2007
Damien Rice's first album 'O' was for me, one of the defining cds of the last 10 years! So it was with some trepidation that I approached his follow-up, however, I need not have worried.
As with 'O', Damien's haunting songs of love, loss, pain and regret squeeze you emotionally and are touching on the most profound level. Lisa Hannigan's delicious vocals and harmonies add perfectly to the atmosphere he creates with simple, mainly acoustic guitar or piano arrangements.
There is however a new edge to his sound. 'Rootless Tree' is a case in point. It begins gently as so many of his ballads, charting the sense of loss at the end of a relationship before launching into an angry, hurt tyraid. Initially it jarred slightly and I was unsure whether I liked it. However, ironically this is probably now my favourite song on the album. The anger, angst in its lyrics: "Hate you, love you and all we've been through" so perfectly sums up the tortured anguish so many of us feel when love goes wrong...we regret, and we don't regret, we hate, yet we love. For me it is heady stuff!
His lyrics are beautiful as ever but have more maturity. The relationships he explores in these songs are fully grown. Damien Rice has lost none of his magic for me.
Fans of 'O' may need to give this a few listens before fully appreciating and enjoying the whole album. I know I did. However, it is worth the investment. Damien Rice still has integrity, honesty and the most emotionally intense and moving songs in the market today in my opinion.
I love this album!!!
on 9 November 2006
'O' was a remarkable album... written and recorded a long time before Damien came to people's attention... it grew and grew and became one of the most loved album's of this decade so far...
To be a singer-songwriter these days is to be open for criticism. The James Blunt effect has taken hold and many credible artists are not taken seriously... Damien, like artists such as Tom Baxter and Josh Rouse, should not be underestimated.
9 is a wonderful work, influenced by the emotional strain that fame has placed on Rice, he shines through. After the first listen, it was like putting on an old jumper...there is a familiarity, a comfort.
Damien is joined by old band memebers Vyvienne long (cello) and by Lisa hannigan on vocals to repaint that feeling of O.
From the echanting piano of 9 songs , through the cannonball esque like yet angsty rootless tree, the listener is fixed. Other highlights of Dogs, Grey Room and accidental babies will have you captivated to the end...
If you own 'O' buy this ... if you don't own 'O'..buy both.. you will not be disappointed .
on 9 November 2006
I bought "O" the day it come out, and it never left my CD player til about hmmm this week, and with that in mind, it was going to be the qunitessential "difficult second album"!
The songs do not let you down, apart from Coconut Skins, (but will probably grow on me very soon) Elephant is by far the stand out track, it was called Blowers Daughter pt 2 originally and you can tell why with all the emotion weeping out of Damien Rice's vocals.
The harder song like Me, My Yoke and I are a welcome interruption to normality, and grabs you by throat and says "LISTEN!" before calming down with the rest of the tracks as if apologising for its outburst.
Old Damien Rice fans will love it, and there will be countless more Damien Rice fans within the next few months and for longer times to come
Lisa Hannigan seems to have disappeared into the background of most of the songs and thats the missing part!
Don't buy this album thinking it going to be "O" buy this album thinking its a journey into Damiens fragile world...and everyones invited!
on 20 November 2006
I have read the other reviews and there seems to be a consensus that this album is not quite as good as O. One or two are very dismissive but lets discount them as deaf.
I think this album is just as good as the last, although admittedly in a different way. The haunting melodies are every bit as good as O, particularly on tracks like 'Elephant' and 'Accidental Babies'. As with 'O' there are parts of the album where the beat hardens and Damien Rice introduces a more savage edge to his vocals, but on 9 the transition between the softer melodies and the edgier vocals just seems to work better. As you listen to the album you feel yourself being carried along by the album, your mood at the mercy of the music.
A truly fantastic album.
on 14 November 2006
In order to accurately convey the angle from which i approached '9', i feel the need to offer some background on my acquantaince with Mr Rice.
I honestly can't remember why i bought 'O'. I'd certainly never heard any of the songs before, and i'm almost certain no-one i know had recommended him to me. Maybe it was the packaging, all cloth covers and recessed lettering, (later shamefully replaced with a standard cardboard cover when he signed to 14th Floor) that sucked me in, but whatever the reason was, i parted with my cash and took it home. As soon as 'Delicate' began, i became a Damien Rice fan, and the rest of the album only confirmed that.
As I often do with albums that i really love (Tom Mcrae's first album, 'Either/Or' by Elliott Smith), I selfishly kept 'O' to myself for as long as i could, until finally I told pretty much everyone i knew to buy the album (always one extreme to the other). Over time, the venues he played at increased in size, until Damien Rice was very firmly engrained in the public consciousness, and 'O' has since sold in excess of 2 million.
I began to feel wary with the release of the 'Cannonball' single. Stripped of any intimacy and awarded a by-numbers, inoffensive pop drum beat, I had visions of this being the basis for the sophomore slump. 'Unplayed Piano' made little impression on me either, and Damien Rice faded slightly from my radar, in fact to the extent that I didn't even know that '9' had been released until i saw an advert for it on television. Playing over the advert was '9 Crimes', and I bought the album on the basis of that track.
The first impression of the album was one of slight disappointment, despite the 4 year gap between releases, it felt rushed, hastily thrown together with little regard for running order, arrangements or production. '9 Crimes' remained as gorgeous as it was when i first heard it, but i found the songs that followed to be a little forgettable.
But as is often the case, multiple listening reaps its own rewards. 'Accidental Babies' presented itself as one of the most heartbreakingly painful songs I have ever heard (this, by the way, is a good thing), and like Elliott Smith, Damien Rice uses profanity in the best possible way, to jar and startle the audience. The chorus of "f-you, f-you, f-you and all we've been through" in 'Rootless Tree' is perfectly placed, a cathartic release of anger that is sometimes only accomplished with that sort of language. Some people say it is gratuitous and unnecessary, but some people also say that My Chemical Romance have talent.
'Dogs' is deceptively lightweight in the same vein as Nick Drake, and all the better for it, whilst 'Coconut Skins' evokes Bob Dylan in a way that most people only dream of. This is without even mentioning 'Elephant' or 'Sleep Don't Weep'.
This is an album that needs to be absorbed over time before passing judgement, a welcome change in the wake of the quick-fix, take-the-money-and-run acts that pollute the airwaves. Intimate, solitary and utterly engrossing, this is one of the albums of the year.
on 17 November 2006
I've been a Rice fan since i saw him supporting Kathryn Williams in manchester, on his own on stage with his guitar. What i saw that night convinced me to buy his album 'O'. it is now one of my favourite albums ever, top ten in fact.
This new one has great songs on it including 9 songs, elephant, and accidental babies. these rank up with damiens best. They are everything you want from him, beautiful, heart felt,, yearning melodies and lyrics entwined.
Others llike me and my yoke, rootless tree, and The Animals Were Gone are also good songs, maybe growers, maybe just good.
For me the rest is pretty indifferent. Dogs and Coconut Skins are poor. boring and are fillers. grey room and sleep don't weep are yet to convince me. i have begun to skip all these, though i will of course persevere as much as i can.
Am i pleased i bought the album? yes. For 3 songs alone it is worth the price. to me damien is priceless and his music moves me. i am annoyed by the production in places and feel his rythme section in particular are unimaginative and often just plane obvious. i'm sure the entrance of the drums in elephant should be just better. in other songs the additional instruments is even more frustrating (like on the radio production of his previous singles). however, gripes aside, this is not a brilliant album like 'O', but it has it's place and has moments of beauty all of its own.
on 14 November 2006
I've given this album a few listens now, and it continues to grow on me. I don't think it'll quite catch up with the superb O, but 9 is an excellent album.
I was prepared to buy this album almost entirely for the opening track "9 crimes"- I'm not prone to superlative but the song is one of the most beautiful I've heard in some time. The rest of the album can't quite match it, but contains many good tracks. "Elephant" and "Coconut Skies" stand out to me, and while some have critised the swearing in "Rootless Tree" (I'll admit is surprised me when I first heard it) I find it one of the best songs on the album.
Its not quite O, and its not quite a 5 star either. Its a shame that Lisa Hannigan's gorgeous voice is not used more, and the album- to me- peters out a little as it nears the end. Overall though, Damien Rice has written another great album, and I shall continue to enjoy listening to it.
on 26 March 2007
I agree with the review below. I was not going to buy "9" due to the reviews on Amazon, but I did buy it in the end... Probably because I trust the musician to produce something he'd be proud to put his name on (in light of what I've read about him, his life, and his thoughts, this seemed a relatively safe gamble). And I'm not disappointed at all. What we want from Mr Rice is what he gives us in "9". Nothing more or less brilliant than "O". If you like Damien Rice's music, you'll like "9".
on 4 November 2006
Damien Rice is truly amazing. His first album was beyond brilliant and this second one is so far seeming to be as amazing as the first. It's been 5 years in the making and so I've been desperately waiting for this day, and now it's here it's just so very good.
It's totally diverse going from totally quiet and heartwrenching, to much much louder. He even hits the distortion peddle a few times on this album which is lovely, and he does a good job of incorporating a bit more rock into his sound. But on the whole this album is exactly what everyone wants and what you'd expect - more Damien Rice. It's in the same vein as the first album, but it's a collection of new stories, feelings, emotions and moments that he wanted to share.
You can listen to this and just have a little movie running in your head, you can see the scene, you can see the expressions on peoples faces. I'm getting a bit carried away now, but the point is that this is another fantastic album. The songs are similar but totally different somehow and you will be so pleased you bought it.
It is utterly beautiful.