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His second album, 9, was released to mixed reviews and Rice himself has said that he would’ve taken half of the songs off it if he could do it again.After 9, Rice went on a hiatus of nearly a decade, disappearing from public view.The song suffused the Mike Nichols’ film Closer and its refrain, which should have been romantic, became a despairing ode, a statement of love perhaps unrequited.With two other singles off O—‘Volcano’ and ‘Cannonball’—Rice sealed his reputation as the downhearted crooner.This voice is earnest and beautiful, it soars often and it elevates Rice.This is the last voice you hear on O, off the hidden track ‘Silent Night’, and the first on 9, on ‘9 Crimes’.
Recorded in a studio where Sigur Ros made a number of their albums, the Rick Rubin-produced album brought back the yearning of O.
It wasn’t just fame that led him to retreat, it was also Lisa Hannigan.
Throughout 0 and 9, there is another voice that accompanies Rice, playing off of his blues.
But it’s a beautiful kind of melancholy, where you identify with the emotions because it is something you have felt also, at one time or the other.
It is not just the ache of a love lost but the sorrow of a partner’s passing, the death of a once-valued friendship—it is that twinge in your heart when Rice repeats “I can’t take my eyes off of you.”The Blower’s Daughter introduced the world to Damien Rice and his specific brand of melancholy.