11 November 2006

Damien Rice Makes Me Sit Still

You guys, I am so excited that Damien Rice has a new album coming out next week. Have you heard his first album, "O?" It's so bizarre and so completely accessible at the same time. The heart-slicing emotion on a song like "The Blower's Daughter" or "Cannonball" astounds me. So many male singer-songwriters sound wimpy... or like they're afriad to feel the emotions they're singing about.*** But Rice sounds as though he's actually living the ache in the moment of singing. It's got something to do with the wail of his upper register, I think. It's like a sound that sneaks up on you when you're feeling something. I'm sure he's able to produce that sound at will, but his artistry is such that it sounds unrehearsed.

He reminds me of Sinead O'Connor in his immediacy and vulnerability, and also in his musical experimentation. Is it because they're both Irish? I don't know, but I can't think of too many other artists who could make accordions and bagpipes work. (Weird Al notwithstanding.)

I don't have much more to add. I haven't even allowed myself to listen to samples of his new record, "9." Some artists still inspire that kind of waiting in me. The kind where I sit down and listen to a record from start to finish without stopping, letting that first, unbroken wave be my discovery of the music.

Very few artists demand that kind of attention from me. Sometimes, though, it's nice to give myself enough time in a day to sit down and listen. To decide that I can afford 60 minutes of stillness and speechlessness in which an artist dominates my senses. And not with the visual dominance of a movie or play. But with the closed-eye intimacy of music. If I'm wearing headphones, it's such a private communication, yet it requires nothing from me but attention.

Those moments become rewards, and they're delivered by someone with the scope and feeling of Damien Rice.

So come on, Damien. Make it a winner.

*** I ended that sentence with a preposition. Seriously, it was Adam's comment on the last post that made me feel okay about it.



At 4:26 PM, Anonymous Jenni said...

i agree that some of his songs are heartbreakingly beautiful.

however, for the most part, i find damien rice too depressing. he makes me want to poke my eyes out and down a bottle of prozac. maybe wash it down with cheap whiskey in a lonely bar.


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