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3.9 10
by Damien Rice

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This Irish singer-songwriter connected with scores of heartbroken kindred spirits with his debut album, O, but that notch of commercial success didn't turn him into a little ray of sunshine, judging by the aggrieved and pleading tones of this unfailingly gripping follow-up. No typical sad-sack balladeer, Rice plumbs his emotional depths at


This Irish singer-songwriter connected with scores of heartbroken kindred spirits with his debut album, O, but that notch of commercial success didn't turn him into a little ray of sunshine, judging by the aggrieved and pleading tones of this unfailingly gripping follow-up. No typical sad-sack balladeer, Rice plumbs his emotional depths at their most raw -- borrowing bits from precursors as varied as Tim Buckley and Thom Yorke but steering a unique musical path that's one part folk troubadour-dom and one part bedsit art-rock. While 9 doesn't differ drastically from Rice's debut, it does find him chasing some of his more ethereal muses -- and reeling them in with great alacrity on songs like the swelling, cello-laced plaint "Elephant" and the swirling, majestically orchestrated "The Animals Were Gone." Rice waxes introspective for much of 9, his fragile tenor skating over acoustic strumming with grace befitting a figure skater, but he's more willing to grab his listeners by the throat this time around -- as borne out by the PJ Harvey-like distortion-fest "Me, My Yoke and I." Harmony vocalist Lisa Hannigan makes a return appearance here, entwining herself with Rice with equal parts subtlety and razor-sharp emotion (the latter best evinced on the quavery-but-powerful "9 Crimes"). Her presence brings out the best in Rice, but he doesn't really need all that much help in winning hearts and minds -- especially those that bear more than their share of scars.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Marisa Brown
In 2003, Irish singer/songwriter Damien Rice wooed listeners with his debut, O, a collection of songs that displayed his (and counterpart Lisa Hannigan's) poignant yet interesting and intelligent vocals over quiet guitars and strings. On O, Rice was able to come off as sensitive and emotional without seeming sappy or cheesy, a difficult balance to attain, and certainly an impressive accomplishment. He was also able to write simple, pretty songs that still managed to have a voice and style of their own, and stick out from the rest of the acoustic guitar folk-pop. Needless to say, because of all this, he definitely put some pressure on himself for what he would present on his next release. What he turned out, 9, unfortunately shows signs of a sophomore slump. There are still some great tracks on it -- the stellar "The Animals Were Gone," the Dylan-esque "Coconut Skins" -- and to give him credit, Rice ventures into other genres, using a piano more frequently and even an electric guitar once or twice ("Me, My Yoke & I" is a rock song, no two ways about it) along with his usual timid acoustic accompanied by orchestral strings, but where before he was able to write love songs that didn't come across as clichéd or affected, on 9 (which, incidentally, has ten tracks) he seems so aware of the danger of coming off as trite that he tries too hard to overcome it, and ends up with something that seems very forced. For the most part his melodies -- excluding the aforementioned pieces -- are nothing more than unmemorably nice, but when coupled with hooks like "The girl who does yoga/When we come over" (from "Dogs") and "Does he drive you wild?/Or just mildly free?" (from "Accidental Babies") they become memorably painful, which takes away from what's actually great about 9: namely, the musical arrangements and Rice's voice (Hannigan, though she begins and ends the album, is hardly present), whose emotion ranges from dejected apathy to anger and is always pretty believable. 9 is by no means a failure, or even bad, but it dulls in comparison to what Rice can really produce, which makes it disappointing overall.

Product Details

Release Date:
Warner Classics Uk


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Damien Rice   Primary Artist,Clarinet,Guitar,Percussion,Piano,Vocals,fender rhodes,Wurlitzer,Singing Bowls
Joel Shearer   Electric Guitar,Help
Shane Fitzsimons   Bass,Double Bass
Vyvienne Long   Cello
Lisa Hannigan   Vocals
Cora Venus Lunny   Violin,Viola
Tom Osander   Percussion,Drums,Glasses

Technical Credits

Shane Fitzsimons   Producer,Engineer
Damien Rice   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Vyvienne Long   Producer,Engineer
Lisa Hannigan   Producer,Engineer
Daisy   Paintings,Drawing
Tom Osander   Producer,Engineer

Customer Reviews

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3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Comparing Frank Sinatra to Damien Rice is like comparing Rap to Jazz, Completly different spectrums. Also Frank Sinatra was a Mafia buddy. Now about Damien Rice, Deffinitly go for his first album, Its incredible and much easier to absorb. I will always love that album. This album is like his first but much deeper with a rawness to it that is anything like what you hear in mainstream. It is a great album to open your mind on what it means to be a musician in the form of art and self expression rather than entertainment for the masses.
Guest More than 1 year ago
He isn't a good singer. I mean, he just barely gets by with his singing. The song "Rootless Tree" is something I can't play in front of my children because of the cursing on it. Most of the other songs sound like the beginning of a very slow song that you hope gets going but doesn't. "Elephant" gets going pretty crazy at the end, but the build up is a slow three minutes long. I didn't care for this song either. The only two songs I enjoyed were "9 Crimes" and "Dogs." The other songs did nothing for me. I won't be buying a CD of Damien Rice again, because I feel so cheated with this CD, which only has two good songs. Bottom line: most of the songs are SLOW, NOT good, and have singing that ISN'T good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
judging by the scathing reviews below, many did not enjoy this album. alright, i suppose that's understandable. everyone has their own set of likes and dislikes. personally, however, i found '9' to be a very good album. damien rice sings with a soft, nearly underwhelming tenor that breathes so much life into his raw songs. his style is, all in all, his own. the sheer simplicity of most of his songs sometimes doesn't go over so well with listeners. if you are planning on buying this album, you have to understand that, musically and emotionally, it is very mature. the melodies are not always catchy nor are the lyrics always sentimental and sweet. this album represents raw, uncensored human emotion. sometimes to oddness of the music or the bluntness of the lyrics cloud people's perspective of this album. don't let those things get in your way. be forewarned, of course, that it is different and thus, you may not like it. for me, it took a little while to actually appreciate it. the first time i listened to several of the songs, i didn't like it at all. attempting to listen to the album through the first time round? don't do it. you need to take something like this in small doses so that you can fully digest it and absord the sheer beauty of it. overall, i really enjoyed this album. i think that damien rice "as well as his singing counterpart lisa hannigan" is wonderful and fresh. try it out and give it some time to work its magic on you. highlights include: 9 crimes, elephant, the animals were gone, rootless tree, and accidental babies.
Guest More than 1 year ago
"9 Crimes" and "Rootless Tree" are great songs. I didn't care for the cursing on this CD though. It really turned me off. Damien doesn't have to say the "F word" over and over again. I don't buy this kind of music to hear the "F word" over and over again. The cursing ruined the CD for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"9" is at its purest is a take on life. Its not always pretty but you always learn something from it. The record the first time through is unsettling in its honesty, it throws things in your face that you do not expect from a record. It mirrors and asks questions that sometimes we try and deny and work around. In "Accidential Babies" the question is posed "Is he dark enough to see your light?" and flat out asks the woman with which he is having an affair with to leave her other before there is no way out. As for the use of the F word in his songs, it is only used in an expression of true emoition. Most of us have been in that place where thats the only word that sums up the situation. I find it strange that people find more offense with that word than with the themes that are spread out through out the album which in reality are what made them uncomfortable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Damien Rice is my favorite singer, and has been ever since I heard his magnificent debut album "O." "9" is another wonderful album. It begins with Rice's very talented singing partner Lisa Hannigan accompanying him on "9 Crimes." It's beautiful the way their voices overlap. The second track "The Animals Were Gone" is an excellent song it's only about my sixth favorite on this album, though, since it's just that good. "Elephant" is a standout, a wonderful follow-up to Rice's hit "The Blower's Daughter." The last minute and a half, especially, is so wonderful and painful at the same time in its intensity. "Rootless Tree" is another favorite of mine. This is where Damien earns the "explicit content" label on "9." It's a raw, hurt song that perfectly describes a love/hate relationship. You'll find yourself listening to over and over if you listen to it once. Another favorite of mine is "Grey Room," which continues to improve every time I listen to it. Finally, I loved "Accidental Babies." It reminds me of "Delicate," my favorite song on "O," and has really beautiful lyrics. I especially love the lines "And I know I made you cry/And I know sometimes, you wanna die/But do you really feel alive without me?". This is the best CD of 2006. I would recommend listening to "O" first, partly because it's nice to recognize references to earlier songs when you listen to "9," and partly because it is in my opinion the most consistently brilliant record of all time. I urge you to buy both of them.
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