Friday, August 24, 2012

#34: Damien Rice - O (2002)

Most would consider his type of music folk or folk rock. However, it's really unlike anything else I've ever heard before. I've tried using Pandora to show me "similar artists" but it never finds anything quite like it. I've always been a big fan of tasteful strings to go along with the primary instruments (guitar or piano), however they're used in such a way that is overwhelming to the listener. At times they don't do anything all that interesting, yet they cause just as much feeling as Rice pouring his heart into the music.

There's not enough words in this world to describe how amazing this song is. From the strings carrying the hook to the amazing wisp of Rice's voice whispering yet crying out on the chorus: "What I am to you, is not real. What I am to you, you do not need. What I am to you, is not what you mean to me." If you've never heard the song, you should really stop everything that you're doing and check it out - it's one of the greatest songs I've ever heard.

Another absolutely amazing song. A very delicate, yet strong guitar part layered with very honest, open lyrics. The melody, lyrics, chords, and emotion on the chorus is unmatched on this album and hardly any other track I've heard on any album. This song is a little more fragile than 'Volcano' with a little more soul being poured into the chorus, but both tracks are amazing in their own rights. When I purchase an acoustic guitar this is one of the first songs I want to master.

What amazing strings. Let's pretend that Damien Rice is a decent songwriter, and let's pretend that his songs are just him and a guitar singing, almost in a demo like fashion. What this album gets right is he takes these somewhat basic guitar and vocal songs and with just the most amazing strings and small harmonies, he turns these songs into incredibly emotional tracks. Now, Rice isn't a decent songwriter - he's very good. It's just amazing what he can do with such a simple idea.

All in all, it's a really solid album. While the subject matter isn't always uplifting, the music tends to be. The tempos are generally much slower and there's a little more focus on the vocals, however the music underneath is still really well crafted and is used more for emotional effect than as a hook to listen to. This album fell out of my rotation, but after listening to it again for the first time in a few years, it needs to get back into it... pronto.

Tomorrow's album: Sarah Vaughan's At Mister Kelly's.

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