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Youngstown OhioO
Published: 10 June, 2003
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Customer comments on this Youngstown Ohio Book

Youngstown Ohio Magical

This has to be one of the most beautiful CDs ever recorded. Damien's vocal range is vast; his musicianship excellent; but it's the crafting of songs at which he truly surpasses most artists. Haunting, sensitive, flowing, crashing... (If I have one criticism, it's the mixing levels - at times, his vocals are drowned. In concert, when he lets rip, you really feel the power of his vocals/music, which, unfortunately, doesn't come over quite as well on the album.) A truly magical album.

Youngstown Ohio This album is amazing

This is one that sways the soul. Damien Rice's timing and melody just reach into your gut and extract every piece of love and sorrow that you ever felt.

My husband and I used "the blower's daughter" (minus the last line) for our first dance song during our wedding reception. We can't wait for his next release.

Youngstown Ohio One of the most impossibly beautiful albums ever released

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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