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"9" starts off with the gorgeous "9 Crimes," which even more than "The Blower's Daughter" had the fortune of getting some serious airtime as it was prominently used in a November sweeps episode of "Grey's Anatomy." That song has an otherwordly feel that I don't remember feeling since hearing Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" in the mid 1980's.
The rest of the release is by no means disappointing, but there has been such an influx of singer/songwriters in the past few years that it is difficult to stand out. Here Rice seems less concerned about letting you in on his thoughts as he did in "0", than in telling his tale and giving you the option of listening in if you want to. He does not project with the same force and it makes for a less showy record. To me that is not a bad thing as he could have easily made a sequel to "0", but here the stories are more dense, confusing, but ultimately quite universal.
If you liked "0" as a whole and not just the better know songs, it's a safe bet that you'll like "9." On the other hand if you don't like this type of confessional music, nothing here will change your mind about this artist.
No sophomore slump for Rice and here is to many more releases of this caliber. They can't all earn 5 stars, but there is a significant number of singer-songwriters who are proving that they too can hold their own in world where pre-packaged and overly produced releases seemed to be the only options in the horizon.
This isn't music manufactured to hook you in between radio ads. With music being the way much of it is today, I've found that I've "tuned my ears" to the templated song, waiting for the quick hook so I can absorb it, listening a few times then throw it away, but you can't do that with Damien's music and if you approach it that way you're likely to pass his work off as simple folk music. But if you listen trying to search for what he's trying to say, if you seach for the soul of the artist you'll find no mask on this album. 9 is a coherent work, it is a brilliant album every bit as good as O, if anything it has more variety than O. I think a lot of people will say, there's no Blowers Daughter or there's no Cannon ball on 9. I guess I don't understand those comments, because I always thought of those songs as just part of the sum of that album. I never thought they defined that album as a great album. 9 doesn't have a few stand out tracks , but it has a lot of brilliant moments spread out across the album.
One quick historical note. Track 3, "Elephant" was originally titled "The Blowers Daughter, Part II" and has been showing up in live sets for a long time now.
Melancholy is smeared liberally over this follow-up to Rice's spectacularly successful album "O".
You would think that we would have had our fill of down-in-the-dumps singer-songwriters making semi-orchestral productions out of songs which would once have been strummed in the back rooms of pubs, but Rice has done pretty much what David Gray did with "Life In Slow Motion" - he has produced a work of such sincerity and quality that it transcends its genre.
Best moment here is "Elephant", which begins with quiet voice and almost inaudible guitar, building in intensity to heartfelt keening and a rush of orchestra and percussion before dying back to a mumbling conclusion.
Emotionally, it is as if Rice has climbed a mountain and fallen down the other side.
The opener 9 Crimes is a chill-inducing ballad with Lisa Hannigan, just like a terribly frank exchange of words between a desolate couple. Then there is the movingly lovelorn The Animals Were Gone ending in a sweeping violin climax and the evocative Elephant where Rice rises from a mere whisper to eventual heart-tearing scream towards the end. Things go on a lighter note on the seemingly lyrically-inane Dogs and Coconut Skins and this is where the causal listeners need to read further.
Grey Room comes closest to being an O continuation, along the lines of the splendid Delicate.
The closer Sleep, Don't Weep ends the album on a tender note, almost like Rice having reached a resolution of sorts, then quite not yet there.
9 is definitely the answer to a long 4-year wait after O. Savour the greatness, it just might be another 4 years before good music like this is bestowed upon us again.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a grat album by Damien Rice. Not personally my favourite, 'cause I love his debut O, but it has some incredible stuff. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Love it... so poignat and deep. All his music is. My goal is to eventually own all his CD's. Calming and opens up your feelings.Published 12 months ago by Susan T. Chatterton
Damien rice is an amazing artist. He needs to tour more in north AmericaPublished 21 months ago by Derek Santos