Today, Damien Rice released his new album, ‘My Favourite Faded Fantasy’. Here are my thoughts…
1. My Favourite Faded Fantasy.
Rick Rubin’s production is evident from this opening track. The first thing I thought was – ‘great guitar sound’. Damien’s voice sounds almost effeminate. The track builds really well, and doesn’t kick in where you expect it to.
2. It Takes A Lot To Know A Man.
This epic 9’33” track has some good lyrics, but the song didn’t do much for me. I’m not a fan of this piano sound on Damien Rice songs, there was too much of it on the last album. It’s a nice sound, reminiscent of the piano sound on ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon, but It’s just too stark and melancholy when combined with the other sounds that Damien uses. There is a great build up towards the end of the song, before the hugely extended coda.
3. The Greatest Bastard.
This is the stand out track for me. Damien Rice is a master of the ‘retrospective of a love affair’ type ballad. There is a hint of the guitar part from ‘Older Chests’, which isn’t a bad thing by any means. The song is beautifully performed, with wonderful dynamics and rubato. I’m not sure about the brass and timpani at the end, but I’m probably just being fussy!
4. I Don’t Want To Change You.
Nice string hook, and a cool groove with some ‘Hendrix’ type double stop slurs. I like the song, but I can’t get past Damien rhyming ‘danger’ with ‘manger’! I hope I grow to live with it, as otherwise, it’s a great track! It feels like it could be a continuation of ‘Elephant’, from the ‘9’ album – ‘The Blower’s Daughter, Part 3’?
5. Colour Me In.
This is an excelent stand alone acoustic guitar song. The arrangement builds up, but it would still be great without it. I’ll have to learn this one.
6. The Box.
This song contains the simmering, fragile bitterness that you expect every now and then from Mr. Rice. I like it. Tasty percussive acoustic guitar playing at the end.
7. Trusty And True.
This slightly Celtic ballad really misses Lisa Hannigan’s vocal. She would be the icing on the cake here. I can hear her parts in my head when I listen to it! Damien adds a second vocal himself now and then, which would sound great sung by Lisa. Marlana Sheetz adds a little female vocal towards the end, but her part is quite subtle. This song is good, but I’m not sure that it is good enough to be extended to 8’10”.
8. Long Long Way.
Reminds me of ‘Cold Water’, from the ‘O’ album. The female vocal has echoes of ‘No More “I Love You’s”‘ by Annie Lennox. It distracts from the rest of the song once you notice it, and then you can never ‘unhear’ it! If you hadn’t heard it, I’m sorry for pointing it out and ruining the song for you (I’m not really)… A bit of a weak ending to an otherwise good album.
The production on this album is beautiful, even if the arrangements are a little over the top occasionally. Rubin and a Rice make a great team. Saying that, I expect nothing less from a Damien Rice album!
The thing with Damien Rice is that his debut album, ‘O’, was so good, almost flawless. However well he does in the future, I can’t see how he will ever top that, but we can always hope!
In my opinion, this album is better than ‘9’, which was a bit stark, but not as good as ‘O’.
If you would like to learn to play some Damien Rice songs, why not book an acoustic guitar lesson?