Damien Rice – My Favourite Faded Fantasy

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Each year for the last 16 or so I’ve been part of a group that shares their “Top 20” year end music releases.  While some might hope to find their own favorites held in others’ high regard, the point is to discover that artist that we would have otherwise missed. 

In 2003, that artist was Damien Rice, whose debut “O” was a raw, tortured affair full of the singer-songwriter angst that I generally frown upon.  But he did it so well, with evocative vocals, simple guitars, DRicestrings and a flair for sharing all that is wrong but occasionally right in his relationships. 

Eight years after his disappointing follow-up, he returns eight years older and apparently none the wiser in his relationships.  Maybe that’s a good thing.  If relational hopes and failings are the only things which stir him to write songs, then its probably best that he never find that perfect someone.

Let’s sample some lyrics!

you helped me love, you helped me live
you helped me learn how to forgive, didn’t you?
i wish that i could say the same,
but when you left, you left the blame, didn’t you?

So, let’s see... she was great and he changed for the better, mostly.  But he’s still a cad and cut herself free from the loser.  Cheerio.

I've never been with anyone
In the way I've been with you
But if love is not for fun,
Then it's doomed

Generally speaking, the lyrics have been pored over.  What he says he means to say.  But I wonder if he actually thinks about how self-absorbed he comes across.  If love is not for fun?  Wake up.  It’s an impossible expectation to define a committed relationship that way.  So... perhaps he left the day when things didn’t seem fun, and, per the previous quote (a different song...), she left.

I have tried but I don't fit
Into this box you call a gift
When I could be wild and free
But god forbid, then you might envy me…

These are terrific lines, honestly expressed.  I guess he’s searching for that special someone, to paraphrase David Crosby, who if they can’t be with the one they love then loves the one they’re with. 

So come let me love you
Come let me love you
And then… colour me in

It’s all a bit one sided, isn’t it?

Add slicker production values and a more mature voice that no longer bleeds naked emotion, and it’s still quite good.  But it’s not what it was, and worse, once the lyrical riddles are solved, who cares?

Recommended: Title track and “Colour Me In”

2 of 5 STARS



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