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I See a Darkness

4.8 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 9, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Bonnie "Prince" Billy's first full lenght LP cuts the umbilical chord witht the grim reaper's musical cleaver.

Amazon.com

Will Oldham, the artist formerly known as Palace, has never been concerned with creating pop music. Oldham's forte, murder ballads, antispirituals, dead-sea chanteys, and lost-love songs, has always been "difficult," forcing the listener to confront some rather unseemly topics. Say this about Oldham, however, despite his quirks (cracking vocals, shambolic instrumentation, baroque language), at its best, his music is bracing and, often, very beautiful. That said, I See a Darkness, his second LP since abandoning the Palace moniker, is the most accessible, gorgeous, and moving record of his career. Instead of the gothic, low-fi country feel of many of his projects, Darkness comes off sounding like an early-'70s Neil Young album, comprised of a stately piano backbone and fleshed out by loose-fitting guitar strums. Stylistically, Oldham mixes things up on Darkness and his full band sounds, for once, well practiced and well recorded. Sure, Oldham is still singing about the blackness of his soul, but in between--in small bursting moments--there are bits of light, hope, and a suggestion that maybe--just maybe--there may be redemption through love. That message, presented in these carefully constructed, gently offered songs, pushes this recording beyond the usual, curious appeal of Oldham and into an entirely new realm of greatness. S. Duda
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 9, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Palace Records
  • ASIN: B000066HI4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,814 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (aka Will Oldham) creates the scariest take on country music imaginable. In fact, this could easily be labelled 'goth country'.

His lyrics are intensley personal and his voice a deep and dark wonder. His songs are carefully crafted and arranged in an obscure warmth and frailty.

On some occasions the songs creep along steadily, on others errupt into soaring climaxes of double tracked vocals on the brink of collapse. These climaxes don't play on the usual tricks of severe dynamic change or string sections, but rather involve escalations in emotive force that ripple through you.

Will Oldham is a master songwriter, and an expert at creating sound collages and textures not usually associated with country music.
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Format: Audio CD
one of the best albums....................ever. any genre, any era. my god, what a knock out. this is the latest musical persona of will oldham (whose illustrious career began as "palace/palace music/palace brothers") and many say it's his greatest achievement yet. i knew within ten seconds of first hearing this record that it had to be true. every song reaches in and squeezes the heart, gets all tangled up in your insides. you know what's great about this record? every single haunting track is memorable and affecting. every one. there isn't a single track that fades into the background...and that is a rare treat these days. and the fact that a tune as staggeringly vibrant as "a minor place" can co-exist so easily with smothering odes like "i see a darkness" is just amazing. it is, in many ways, like life.
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Format: Audio CD
Will Oldham combines soft and fragile melodies with atonal voices. He shows the beauty of error and the crushing power of tenderness.
Like almost everything that is "REALLY" good, you have to learn to appreciate this album. With every listening session there is something new that strikes you and slowly reveals the full beauty of this music.
This is a true jewel, in desperate need to be treasured.
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Format: Audio CD
First off, if you like Taylor Swift, signed Oprah's no texting pledge and enjoy watching "Dancing With The Stars", you probably won't like this album. Matter of fact, this album will be your personal anti-christ. So don't listen before going to church on Sunday. But I dare you to listen while driving home hazy at 4 am thinking woulda-coulda-shoulda thoughts when drunken spirits are dancing and the girl is crying at the bar and you struck out big time. This album is aural absinthe.

Strange moods this album evokes, usually dark, eerie, weird, out-of-place, awkward, but strangely beautiful too. The soundscape reminds me of a strange man walking through mountain mist, singing to himself...people avoid him because he really has problems. He stares at you and keeps singing. Creepy cool. Wanna see the darkness? The album title is absolutely congruent with the sonics.

This is one of a handful of truly classic releases in the past 10 years. Most people won't understand it, but anyone can feel it. Listen to it to calibrate your emotional gauge. Lay back, clear your head, let the mist enter your ears. If you don't feel a degree of emotional drain, then check your heart, thump it, make sure your still alive.
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Format: Audio CD
On first listen I was disappointed with this album. I expected melancholia but not like this. After a few more spins I figured out what I had missed. This is the most beautiful album. Absolutely the best, it can be sad, it can be hopeful, it can be everything. Will Oldham sounds real, and his reality is haunting and beautiful at the same time. The music is minimalist and sparse which only contributes to the beauty and dynamic of the record. It is one of the best albums of the 1990s and I recommend it to any true music fan.
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Format: Audio CD
This is my first review of a Will Oldham/Bonnie 'Prince' Billy album. I chose to review this album first because I think it's simply my favorite in his catalog that I've heard.
I would say that 90 percent of this album sounds exactly like my thoughts throughout a normal day. It's sadly beautiful and hopeful simultaneously. "I See A Darkness" is the type of song that makes you want to reflect on life and your inner thoughts. It's an ode to life.
These songs are sung with such heartfelt beauty and passion that's almost immeasurable to compare this with any other artist. Will shares a lot of his thoughts and feelings with us in his music. He has a "no-holds barred" approach that is sure to catch any listener's attention.
All the songs on this album are part of something bigger. One listen and you'll know that you've found an album with integrity and purity. It will probably get you through a lot of times in your life if you allow it to. Either way, this will be an album that you will not soon forget.
"Death To Everyone" is one of the most powerful tracks on this album. It also happens to be one of my favorites as well. If it absolutely doesn't pierce your soul, you may not have even been listening and don't deserve to go any further with this album. I would assume that most fans have heard Will's other work and most put this at very least towards the top. Oldham has really paved a path for what he wants to get across in his music. I would venture to say that people will study this work for many years to come.
If you've heard of Bonnie 'Prince' Billy/Will Oldham or are intrigued by what you've heard about him in general, this is definitely an album you should check out. Of course, he's got so many I guess you could start anywhere. Are any of them bad? No. My opinion would be to start here. If you don't become instantly fond of this work, you may not need to get anything else by him.
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