Written by Joe Middleton.
Damien Rice- My Favourite Faded Fantasy
Where has Damien Rice been? It’s been 8 years away from the limelight and what feels like longer since he burst onto the scene with debut album O. This is his first album not to feature long-time collaborator Lisa Hannigan and his first time working with legendary producer Rick Rubin. Well, in short, he’s back, with an album tinged with longing, regret and a host beautifully orchestrated tracks.
It kicks off with the scintillating ‘My Favourite Faded Fantasy’, Rice’s raspy vocals providing a perfect backdrop to the song’s dreamlike ambience. ‘The Greatest Bastard’ is a disarming track, laced with pain and honesty. ‘I Don’t Want to Change You’ is the first single off the album and shows off many of the things that make Damian Rice an excellent songwriter; his delicate and sincere lyrics, the undulating string arrangements and raw emotion. ‘Colour Me In’ is one of the best tracks on the album; it has a gentle Irish folk feel which gradually builds into a magnificent crescendo. The striking orchestral arrangements are an ever present throughout the album which is well put together by Rick Rubin.
However, at times the album gets bogged down in its own introspection and morose lyricism. To be less grandiose, in a pub setting I would probably describe the album to my friends as ‘a bit fucking depressing’. In many ways he reminds me of another troubled songwriter, Jeff Buckley (they sound uncannily alike when they are adopting their raspy style of vocal). However, the big difference between Buckley and Rice is that Buckley could fill songs with an enduring sense of hope and vitality. Lamentably, listening to ‘My Favourite Faded Fantasy’ can at times be draining and difficult. This doesn’t take away the albums’ undeniable power and beauty nor does it negate the fact that it contains some of the best songs Damian Rice has ever written. Stream it, savour it and enjoy. Just don’t expect to be feeling chipper at the end.
Take a Listen to: My Favourite Faded Fantasy, The Greatest Bastard, I Don’t Want to Change You and Colour Me In