Monday, December 28, 2009

Music Decade List #5: Damien Rice - O (2003)

With O, Damien Rice made a standard singer-songwriter album with a little something extra. The songs here are fairly standard folk tunes, yet Rice adds additional instrumentation and a wide spectrum of emotion that raises them above being just average. 'Delicate' starts off as it says, but has an added orchestral sweep thanks to a cello. 'Volcano' and 'The Blower's Daughter' are enhanced by the vocal of Lisa Hannigan. 'Amie', 'I Remember' and 'Eskimo' venture out of folk territory and experiment with various sounds, whether they be opera or ambient noise. Still, at its essence the basic song structure has to be good or no amount of bells and whistles would make it worth a listen. That the songs cover such a wide range of emotions, whether it be downbeat and reflective or into full-blown earnestness, there's a level of sincerity in Rice's lyrics and vocals that can draw the listener into the material. Rice has never quite reached the level he achieved on O, whether it be the loss of Lisa Hannigan, whose contribution cannot be overstated or perhaps the material here is something that can never be reached in scope or in execution.

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