Damien Rice – My Favourite Faded Fantasy (Review)


Eight years is a long time. Eight years ago, in 2006, I was eleven. “Graduating” elementary school seemed like the most important thing that would ever happen to me. High School Musical had just come out, which means I was still watching Disney Channel, and “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt and “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter were two of the biggest songs of the year.

In the same vein as those mopey hits, 2006 was also the last year that Damien Rice had released new music. Until now. His new album, My Favourite Faded Fantasy, is his third album and eight songs long. It clocks in at over fifty minutes, with the shortest song being four and a half minutes. Because of the length, every song is given ample time to fester, develop, and grow. With rising actions, climaxes, and conclusions in the form of instrumentation and vocal pulse, the songs come full circle, which helps the album form a feeling of completion as well. It is a perfected balance of quality and quantity that makes fans happy – especially after eight years.

This new collection blends the perfected gloom that makes Rice’s music unique with new descriptions of heartbreak and anger. Similar to his old works, My Favourite Faded Fantasy is, for all intents and purposes, an album of melancholy and serenity. Rice relies on his voice more than anything, which isn’t a problem, considering he showcases his voice in a new light. The title track, for example, is a six-minute song featuring a new shade of high for his range. He’s almost indistinguishable during the first few lines, but in a way that seems expansive on his style. It isn’t a sign of abandonment from his old style, merely a transition and introduction of new material as well.

It is an album that can only be described as self-reflective, with songs like “The Greatest Bastard,” which are introspective in the vein of early, depressing Coldplay albums. And while we’re on the subject of Coldplay, Rice has followed Ghost Story’s suit as an epitomic break-up album. Everything from the absence of ex-girlfriend, Lisa Hannigan’s vocals, to the presence of songs like “I Don’t Want To Change You”: everything points to heartbreak.

And while the element of sadness and loneliness isn’t fundamentally different from is past albums, this album is comparatively absent of storytelling, with no kin for songs like “The Blower’s Daughter,” or “Amie.” While this marks a shift from the past, this album has become less about the plot of his songs and less about what he can sing to us for content. Instead, there is a focus on the way Rice can take his emotions and make us feel them, too. This has never been a struggle for him, but it is now a perfected and effortless craft. From the tone of his delicate voice to the swelling and presence of string instruments, our emotions become fine-tuned and ready to react to the next note.

While nobody can know if Rice is back for good, if we lasted eight years with the limited material he had previously released, My Favourite Faded Fantasy should hold us off for a while. With angst and depressing songs galore, this album finds a perfect home in Rice’s repertoire – and that’s enough for now.

Rating: W-P-G

Key Tracks: Colour Me In, Trusty and True, The Greatest Bastard

RIYL: Gregory Alan Isakov, Sufjan Stevens, Fleet Foxes

About Emma Goodwin

I’m an English major with a political science and cinema studies minor. When I am not bunking out in my room watching TV and old movies, you can find me drinking too much Diet Coke and making future travel plans.

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