Album Review: My Favourite Faded Fantasy - Damien Rice

Monday, December 1, 2014

It's been 8 years since Damien Rice released his sophomore album, 9. Many people feared that he would return with a completely different sound. I'm relieved to say that he hasn't done that. Instead, My Favourite Faded Fantasy is classic Damien. After years in hiding, he shows the world everything it's been missing; a sound that nobody can replicate.

Heartbreak and lost love are both major themes of the album. This could be a reference to his former girlfriend, muse, and musical partner, Lisa Hannigan. Rice had admitted in 2009 that he "would give away all the musical success, all the songs, and the experience to still have Lisa in [his] life." 

The LP opens up with the same titled track. His falsetto is barely a whisper, "…I know someone who could serve me love / But it wouldn't fill me up." In this track he sings about a woman he was in love with and who was everything to him. His love for his this woman is so strong that he can't move on with someone else as they could never measure up. The track sounds like something the late Jeff Buckley would have created, with Rice's vocals remaining soft and dreamlike. 

The highlight of the album is 'I Don't Want to Want to Change You'. Whereas much of Rice's ballads of love have centred on pouring his emotions of his heart, there is a sense of maturity and strength in his voice. It's as if he's accepting his past mistakes in a moment of self realisation. 

The rawest track of the album is 'The Great Bastard'. In this song, Rice makes you feel all sorts of emotions. This track reminds me of 'Amie' from O. Once the symphony quicks in, so does the butterflies and flutters, "Some make it, mistake it / Some force and  some will fake it / I never meant to let you down / Some fret it, forget it / Some ruin and some regret  it / I never meant to let you down," leaving you absolutely spellbound. 

The album is as raw as anything he has created. After 8 years, it's evident that Rice has a new lease on life and this is expressed through his music. There aren't any signs of the writers block he endured during his long hiatus. Instead, he has created a piece of work that flows like a novel. It's different layers exhibit his journey through life, in particularly love and heartbreak. Although his memories may be 'faded', he has done an impeccable job in captivating them presenting them in a format that everyone can enjoy and relate to.

Rating: 9/10 

Written by Amy Smolcic