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314 of 328 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Constant Companion
This CD made it's way into my hands when a friend, an Irish singer, said if he could be anyone in the world, he would be Damien Rice. He put this album on and watched eagerly as I devoured it for the first time. Inevitable comparisons to Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, Dave Matthews and Tom Waits will be made, but Rice is a genre unto himself.
Rice's voice is beautiful,...
Published on October 2, 2003 by Jennifer

versus
91 of 94 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I am reviewing the Limited Edition CD/DVD sold for USD17.99
Just to set the record straight. I have the CD/DVD Limited Edition and I am reviewing this as a whole - as presented according to it's price and the music contents.

Damien Rice is one of those singers with a distinctive voice. And when you listen to his music, you realize it is a perfect match. His music is classified as Folk. Some people go so far as stating...
Published on January 18, 2005 by R. Ocampo


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314 of 328 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Constant Companion, October 2, 2003
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: O (Audio CD)
This CD made it's way into my hands when a friend, an Irish singer, said if he could be anyone in the world, he would be Damien Rice. He put this album on and watched eagerly as I devoured it for the first time. Inevitable comparisons to Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, Dave Matthews and Tom Waits will be made, but Rice is a genre unto himself.
Rice's voice is beautiful, and in it's human imperfection, convey's a world of deep emotion. The vocal style can change from song to song, but his ability to sing straight to your soul is always there. The lyrics are deep and they burn.
'Cold Water' made me weep, I was so caught up. The Gregorian chant at the end was a perfect emotional denouement. 'I Remember' hurt, it was so good.
Lisa Hannigan's vocals are woven together with Rice's in a perfect compliment. Her voice begins where his ends.
Cellist Vyvienne Long adds a deep, grounding tone that is haunting.
The acoustic guitar arrangement went from spartan to a wall of sound. The organic feel augmented the feel of the whole album.
As my friend watched me listen for the first time, I knew I had a problem on my hands.
What could I possibly do to return this favor?
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161 of 169 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overwhelming In Its Display Of Raw Human Emotion, August 27, 2004
By 
Busy Body (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: O (Audio CD)
When I look back in a few year's time at the music that most impressed me in 2004, the name Damien Rice will jump out at me like a sore thumb. After spending the past year pretty much oblivious to this new singer, I finally came around to his overwhelming appeal and popularity as his debut album began climbing the UK album charts. With little promotion apart from a simple advert on TV, Damien Rice has gone from being a little-known singer to an internationally-acclaimed star and the one to watch over the next year or so. I was in London last weekend (to see Madonna in concert!) and went shopping, and ended up buying Rice's debut album "O." I listened to it all the way home on the coach and completely fell in love with it.

Released in the summer of 2003, O came along and made a minor impact in the charts despite strong reviews. However, from simple word-of-mouth, the album has gone on to become one of the year's success stories. The sound of the album is basically a good-looking Irish man with a guitar singing songs of extreme melancholy but with immense passion and dedication. His style is distinctive and fresh in an industry flooded with watered-down pop and R'n'B radio-fodder, and from the first song I heard on this album I was hooked. Damien Rice, ladies and gentlemen, is the saviour of the modern music industry.

O opens with the fantastic slow song "Delicate." With just a guitar, cello and bass Mr. Rice crafts a beautiful and melancholy song that is particularly special to me. The first time I heard it I was remembering the day before when I met someone at the Madonna concert who had a big impact on me, and I couldn't help feeling an immense sadness and regret for not asking for his e-mail address or telephone number to stay in touch. This song perfectly captures those emotions for me, and for many others I am sure it will too. "Volcano" is a gorgeous and catchy mid-tempo number with a remarkable bass and various percussion instruments, accompanied by gorgeous female vocals. "The Blower's Daughter" is next and is a particular stand out for me. Rice sings with such passionate yearning. When his voice cracks over the bass and the gentle guitar, you feel everything he is feeling, and then he repeats "I can't take my eyes off of you" over and over to capture your imagination. The best part of the song, however, comes after the third minute when the female voice comes in again, and it is *absolutely beautiful* - I swear down it will make your heart flutter and you'll sit there in amazement as she sings "Did I say that I loathe you?"

The album's most popular song comes next in the shape of "Cannonball." With an instantly recognisable melody, Rice's beautiful vocals and soft guitar-playing warms your heart as you find yourself in familiar territory. ""Older Chests" is one of my favourite songs on the album, because of the images it paints in your mind. Damien is once again accompanied by beautiful female vocals towards the end of the song as he sings, "Time, always time, on my mind. Pass me by, I'll be fine, just give me time." The next song is the beautiful "Amie." With a gorgeous cello that sounds like a revealing sunrise at dawn and a breathtaking string section to close the song, this is one song that you won't forget in a hurry. Absolutely masterful. "Cheers Darlin'" is a unique song because Rice reveals his humorous personality as he sings drunkenly about his ex-girlfriend and her new lover boy! The gentle clinking of glasses represent the drunk-effect, and the gentle saxophone brings about the melancholy sadness of loss.

"Cold Water" is another highlight of the album for me. It opens beautiful with a sound that is like echoes amongst a chilly pond, the gentle tears of winter rain gracefully skimming the surface. Rice opens the song with "Cold, cold water!" in a feeble and reclusive voice that is filled with emotion. Just when things get too much for him, Lisa Hannigan's beautiful voice arrives to support him. Then, the gorgeous and gentle hum of Gregorian chants mingle with Hannigan's vocals and swirl the song around your brain. "I Remember" is a really remarkable song, but not really one of my favourites. Infact, it's the only song that I don't enjoy on the album. A female voice opens the album and carries on for a few minutes before Rice comes in and screeches his vocals like a man possessed as he battles his inner demons. The song closes with the fantastic "Eskimo." The words to describe this song are cute, epic and revealing. Cute because of Damien's voice and the words "So I look to my Eskimo friend!" and epic because of the grand Opera-vocals that come in towards the end from Doreen Curran. Why revealing though? Just the music is a true revelation that can mean a number of things to the listener. A symbol of strength in dark times, a glimmer of hope in depression - anything.

OVERALL GRADE: 10/10

The song also has two bonus songs tagged on the end of the album, but they are both a continuation of track 10 which makes Eskimo appear to be 16 minutes in length when it really isn't. This is by far the most beautiful and relaxing album that I have come across since Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me" and Bjork's "Vespertine." I have never come across a male vocalist so passionate and dedicated whilst displaying so much emotion. He doesn't overdo it though, because in the case of Mr. Rice, excess is never a problem. I look forward to hearing much more from him the future. There are no options. You simply must buy this album.
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91 of 94 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I am reviewing the Limited Edition CD/DVD sold for USD17.99, January 18, 2005
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: O (Audio CD)
Just to set the record straight. I have the CD/DVD Limited Edition and I am reviewing this as a whole - as presented according to it's price and the music contents.

Damien Rice is one of those singers with a distinctive voice. And when you listen to his music, you realize it is a perfect match. His music is classified as Folk. Some people go so far as stating his music his beyond genre, but that's just pushing it. I believe it is Alternative/Contemporary Folk.

If you bought this album, you obviously appreciate these kinds of music genre. If you've heard of him only because of the trailer from "Closer", that's exactly the kind of music you will get from the whole album. It isn't pop. And that's a good thing. I appreciate all kinds of music, but I am awed at artists from their respective genres who can create outstanding albums that separate it from the rest of the pack.

In this case, "o" is one of those instances. I don't really buy these kinds of music, but I gave notice at his album more than a year ago at Virgin Megastore when it was being sold for USD9.99. I gave a listen and couldn't put the headphones down.

For me, "Volcano" is still the best track in this album. It is here thaat you will give notice to the vocals of Lisa Hannigan and the cello by Vyvienne Long. "The Blower's Daughter", which was given notice due to the trailer of the movie "Closer". It is also the reason why the same album is now being sold for USD18.99 at most music stores and USD13.99 at Amazon. Anyway, as he sings until the end "...I can't take my mind off you..." he continues to say it until the very end like a person really in longing.

But from track 1 alone, "Delicate" you are instantly sucked in the world of the artist and you can feel the songs he and his fellow bandmates play. Go ahead and listen on and "Cannonball" is another great song.

Best to listen with professional studio monitor speakers and/or quality headphones like Sennheiser brands. Why? So you can hear the subtelty of the instruments and vocals.

All in all the content (songs) is rated 5 STARS out of 5.

--------------------

DVD

Now on to the whole price and packaging Limited Edition label. That's the reason why it's rated 3 stars. Why sell it at that price? The DVD doesn't contain anything except 3 videos from AOL sessions - "Cannonball", "The Blower's Daughter" and "Volcano".

The videos are shot perfectly, just like the songs. It is in black and white and recorded live. The three most important people in the album are the only ones playing - Damien Rice, vocals and guitar; Lisa Hannigan, vocals; Vyvienne Long, cello.

Most people will not notice it, but the compression of the videos aren't that good as it seems. There are artifacting. For a DVD with only three video contents, they could have processed this at a higher bit rate. The space is there on the disc already, why waste it.

I would also appreciate if this was processed in DTS (doesn't have to be surround sound), but that would allow a higher audio quality than the Dolby 2.0 it was compressed in.

The DVD contents size is 788.1MB out of a possible 4.7GB for one side. You get the idea.

Also on the disc, when you click on the web site link it will tell you that there "contains a ROM section with links to more information and content...simply insert the disc into the DVD-ROM drive, open the ROM folder and double-click the weblink.html file." So I did. I clicked on the html file and it opened my browser and brought me to the web page of the artist. Huh? That's it. No special link or feature to say "thanks for buying this more expensive edition." None. It's just one small html file to bring me to his front web page. Why not just tell me in the first place to go to [...] It's as easy as that than going to the ROM folder and opening the file and...It just makes the buyer feel stupid. You don't need to treat us like that. We know a special feature when we see one. And this isn't one of them.

The DVD rating is 1 STAR out of 5. This, and the ridiculous pricing, is the reason why this whole so-called limited edition package is only 3 STARS.

Yes, the DVD packaging is cool. It is definitely apart from the plastic CD cases on shelves. The cover has a nice texture and it looks like a small photo album. Inside are a few pages of original artwork illustrations with hand-written lyrics that I can't barely read. On the last page b+w photos in thumbnail sizes - best to be kept for the bandmates to enjoy.

The CD and DVD, disappointingly is packaged and STUFFED in one normal white envelope. After all this great packaging, they finally run out of ideas and just paste the envelope in the end page and and put a white divider (the same material as the envelope) to separate the CD and DVD. So thanks to that ingenious packaging, you have to carefully remove either one unless you are like the rest who just grabs a CD/DVD by your fingers and oil the whole playing side. And then you wonder why there are scratches and skips after a while. Hmm.

--------------------

The DVD should be given free for Heaven's sake! There is nothing special or limited about it that it doesn't deserve the price. There are tons of albums with included DVDs already and they have the audacity to sell this for USD4.50 more. To think the original price of this Limited Edition is USD21.98. Imagine that if it was actually sold at that price level. Gosh.

For the sake of fans and people who want to discover the artist, scrap the normal album and sell this at the lowest price possible.

The videos can be downloaded and viewed online. So don't waste your money unless you are into limited editions. You don't need the DVD to enjoy all the great songs available either way. Buy the cheaper album which contains the exact songs and enjoy the music the artist has to offer then come back and rate it 5 STARS.

Hope this helps.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most impossibly beautiful albums ever released, September 13, 2006
This review is from: O (Audio CD)
Although I knew "The Blower's Daughter" from the film CLOSER and "Delicate" from LOST, Damien Rice has until recently been unexplored territory for me. What I didn't know is that his album O is not a disc with only one or two great songs, but one of the most from-beginning-to-end brilliant albums of recent years. Vocally Rice reminds me of a lot of other performers. Jeff Buckley and Ryan Adams spring to mind, there is even something of the very young Leonard Cohen in the songs. But this album is more consistently brilliant than anything released by those singers. He isn't quite the singer that Jeff Buckley was (but then who is?), but he is a much better songwriter. His songwriting reminds me somewhat of Hayden, but it is much more dramatic, lush, and expressive and his singing is in an entirely different league. There is also a soft serenity to the music that is nearly as gently calming as the best of Iron and Wine. Actually, Rice and Iron and Wine's Sam Beam write songs that evoke many of the same feelings, though Rice is a far stronger vocalist (though it has to be granted that Beam is perhaps unrivalled as a lyricist today--I think you have to go to people like Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan to find a demonstrably better lyricist than Sam Beam).

Any album is going to have some blend of stronger and weaker songs, but here the mix is really between exceptionally gorgeous and merely gorgeous songs. Far too often you have a strong album, but one or two cuts blow all the others out of the water. But here you get the almost painfully beautiful "The Blower's Daughter" sandwiched between "Volcano" and "Cannonball." And "Volcano" is preceded by "Delicate." So, the album basically starts off with four amazingly great songs, almost any of which would normally have the potential to become a minor classic. But here is the shocker: the rest of the album is nearly as good and at times better. "Older Chests," "Amie," and "Cheers Darlin'" is as strong a trio as the three songs I mentioned above. And then the album ends on "I Remember" and "Eskimo." This is just a ludicrous amount of great music. This album is indeed an embarrassment of riches. It isn't enough to say that there are no weak cuts on the album: there are only a couple of songs that can't be described as almost impossibly beautiful.

This is one of the most intimate albums I've ever heard. Continuing the reference to Sam Beam, the only albums I know of that has more of an intimate feel than this one are Iron and Wine's THE CREEK DRANK THE CRADLE and OUR ENDLESS NUMBERED DAYS. If on those albums it sounds as if Beam was sitting directly behind you and whispering into your ear, on O Damien Rice sounds like he is sitting two feet in front of you and singing directly to you. The arrangements are in keeping with this. Often a song is performed with only Rice's guitar and a few minimal embellishments by back up vocalists or percussionists (never drums as such), or a firmly restrained string section. Most of the guitar work is acoustic, but even when an electric guitar is used it is so delicate that you hardly notice it. Although the arrangements could be described as minimalist, the album nonetheless has an incredibly dramatic, almost operatic feel to it. This truly is a masterpiece of the first rank.

Is Damien Rice a genius? I don't know. One album does not a genius make, even one so grand as this. But if Rice releases a second album as fine as this, I'm willing to so nominate him. I have absolutely no idea why I have only now discovered this gem. I'm pushing it off on all my friends now, regardless of their taste. I suppose there are people who won't like this, but I wonder about their capacity to enjoy good music if they don't. I listen to a ton of music, but this is definitely going to go down as one of the best albums I have discovered this year, no matter how good the albums I discover the rest of the year.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Has Buckley been reincarnated?, November 8, 2003
By 
Argyllsox (New jersey shore) - See all my reviews
This review is from: O (Audio CD)
I have had this CD for a while, but I didn't write a review simply because I really couldn't find the right words to describe it.
I was so strongly taken in by Damien's' music that I literally sat still doing absolutely nothing for the entire length of the CD, including the stray songs way after the initial songs were over.
When I play this CD it is like Damien is right in my living room, just playing and hanging out. It is that intimate.
Damien's voice is, in a word, captivating! Once his voice has hold of you, along comes the angelic whispers of Lisa Hannigan; now there is no escape. Most of the instruments were played by Damien as well as the art work, proving that he is multitalented, not just one of many "singer/songwriters" out today.
It seems the genre is getting flooded much like what happened to the "Seattle scene." Hopefully not destroying it like grunge was killed by commercialism.
Damien has taken up the cross left behind by Jeff Buckely.
Favorite songs are:
delicate
Volcano
the blower's daughter
cannonball
older chests
cheers darlin'
i remember
But make no mistake, there is not one bad track on here.
a true rival for best of 2003
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AS THE IRISH SAY...."BRILLIANT"!, June 11, 2003
By 
Mark A. Fergus (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: O (Audio CD)
This guy is soon to be a household name. It's incredible that this record is just getting a U.S. release, having been out in Ireland for over a year. Damien Rice picks up where Jeff Buckley left off, and reminds us what great songwriting is all about. Haunting, beautiful, heartbreaking and hilarious, all at the same time. Enough said. Get this record and go see this guy play live. You will be blown away.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power of understatement, August 1, 2003
This review is from: O (Audio CD)
Damien Rice demonstrates such a range of voices and styles that to put him in a single category would invariably leave something out. Rice relies on the power of understatement to convey strong emotion (often heartbreak). "Delicate," "The Blower's Daughter," "Cannonball," and "Cold Water" are perfect examples of deceptively simple, but never ordinary, lyrics and acoustic instrumentation. "Older Chests" would almost fall into this group as well, except the subtlety is lost and the song becomes too melodramatic. However, this is an exception.
"Volcano" and "Cheers Darlin'" have a moody, slightly jazzy feel; "I Remember" evolves into a harder, rock feel; "Amie" and "Eskimo" use sweeping, orchestral instrumentation (even a bit of Finnish opera in Eskimo.) By the way, "Eskimo" is not actually a 16-minute song; two extra songs are added onto this track, with a few minutes of dead space in between. These two songs, an untitled I'll call "All Dressed Up For" and "Silent Night", would be better split into separate tracks, but that's a minor flaw.
There really aren't any songs in O that I don't enjoy, but if I had to pick, my favorites would be "The Blower's Daughter," "Delicate" and "Amie," which all best demonstrate Rice's lyric tenderness and emotionally expansive voice. This album has immediately become one of my favorites, and is worth every minute of listening.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, June 10, 2003
By 
This review is from: O (Audio CD)
This is one of the best and most original cds I have ever heard, one of those rare albums that can bring tears to your eyes and chills to your spine. I can't compare this music to anyone else's. The use of classical and opera, the melodies, and the incredible voices of Damien, and of Lisa Hannigan who joins him on several tracks. It's not often music can be described as beautiful. This is. Do yourself a favor and buy this album.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A four-star CD, and the DVD makes it five-plus-stars., May 16, 2004
By 
L. Barden "larsky" (Oakland, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: O (Audio CD)
This is an excellent record. Like others, I too find Rice to be reminiscent of David Gray, mainly of Gray's earliest recordings. I'd actually describe this record as David Gray meets Tom Waits, with a more ethereal tone than either of those artists. Rice has an unabashed emotional/sentimental streak (like Gray, and Waits as well, I suppose), and the production reminds me Waits' organic "clanky" style, similar to Waits' work on "Mule Variations" (in fact, both CDs have a track entitled "Cold Water....coincidence? Probably).
But there are plenty of other reviews of the CD. I want to talk about the DVD. Is it worth spending an extra three or four or five bucks to get the "Limited Edition w/ DVD" version of this record? In a word, yes. In five words, yes-yes-yes-yes-yes.
The DVD contains three video tracks, with Rice performing with vocalist Lisa Hannigan and cellist Vyvienne Long. The songs are filmed in black-and-white, in a studio, and are alternate "stripped-down" versions of "Cannonball," "The Blower's Daughter," and "Volcano." The quality of the videos is excellent, the sound is superb, and I actually prefer the sort of live, unplugged sound of these tracks over the album versions.
If you're any kind of a Damien Rice fan, this DVD is a must-have addition to your collection.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sorry - have to join the consensus!!!, January 21, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: O (Audio CD)
Unlike some contributors, I don't believe Damien changes the world, or walks on water, or has the cure for cancer in his back pocket, but - and it's a big, emphatic, joyous 'but' - I've listened to this CD more than any other over the past 12 months and every time I listen, I'm not just impressed but, you know, moved. I was on holiday, listening on my Walkman, lying by the pool, and one harmony between Damien and Lisa - the bit where they both sing 'time, always time' on Older Chests - rather unexpectedly, even after about 50 listens, literally stirred every cell in my body. The whole album is quietly, evocatively, insidiously magical and wondrous. I'm Irish, and in a sense that usually turns me against, rather than onto, local heroes (small countries tend to overhype modest talents) but Damien transcends all that. His music connects immediately, seduces effortlessly and, at a primeval level, just makes me want to exult in the joys, and pitfalls, of everday life. It's not usually my type of music, but it has become an essential, almost daily, listen. It's languidly beautiful, achingly emotional, endlessly rewarding - take a tip, buy it.
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O by Damien Rice (Audio CD - 2003)
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